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Blog: Mixed business

“Joy and pain is like sunshine and rain,” as someone once sang. And this week it seemed to ring true for at least two big retailers announcing trading figures.

Arcadiaboss Philip Green said that one of the worst “non-summers” for many years had hampered growth at the group’s fashion chains, which includes Topshop and Dorothy Perkins. He described the modest 2% increase in like-for-like sales for the year to September as “creditable”.

Meanwhile, management at Blacks Leisure must have been cheering at the reports of poor weather this summer, which pushed up like-for-likes at its outdoor chain Millets by 6.4% for the first half of the year, helping to rescue it from an abysmal spring.

Weather aside, most retailers will have had a tough summer and are hoping that the key Christmas period will help give a boost to a difficult year. Many are nervously trying to analyse consumer confidence after all the press attention with Northern Rock, house price crashes and interest rate hikes. Online retailers are set to continue the bonanza of last Christmas, as more of us go online. Then there is the will we/won’t we dilemma of pre-Christmas Sales.

Let us know how you are shaping up. Are you expecting a bumper Christmas period this year, or are you expecting cash-strapped shoppers to put a dampener on your festive spirit?

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