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No black and white, just shades of grey

Fashion has always had a strained relationship with the colour grey. We keep coming back for more, but when we do industry watchers are always quick to drag up stories of previous slumps in high street performance, which have been directly linked to the dominance of this most anonymous of shades.

"Don't you people ever learn?" they ask, and apparently we don't, because there's a whole load more of the same colour on the way for autumn. We've given it a metallic sheen in some cases and tried to disguise it with names such as slate, charcoal and storm but, let's face it, it's still grey.

Personally I'm delighted, because this will afford me yet another opportunity to purchase several dozen more grey jumpers, skirts and dresses that are only very subtly different from the several dozen grey jumpers, skirts and dresses I already own.

I think the real problem with the colour grey is when the sky turns that colour, and for the past two weeks - and crucially over the bank holiday weekend - we've barely seen a chink of blue above our heads. Monday was so bad here in the capital and across most of the eastern half of the country that even the hardiest of shoppers could only muster a quick bolt to the local shop for emergency supplies of milk and bread, before retreating to the sofa and the central heating.

Instead of enjoying a bonus extra shopping day, most shop owners must have wondered why they'd bothered opening. Where I live in south London's Wimbledon Village, the many fabulous indies and high-end chains that we're so spoiled with must barely have taken enough to cover the cost of lighting the store for the day, let alone the cost of paying staff.

They do say that if your product is good enough people will buy it regardless, but it would have taken one very special pair of sandals for me to have dusted off my credit card this weekend. And if the weather forecasts I've seen are accurate, there won't be any danger of me adding to my shoe collection this weekend either - unless, of course, I finally succumb to some wellies.

And to think just a few weeks ago we were all basking in the sunshine and rubbing our hands at the prospect of a bumper sales season. But in this unpredictability we can perhaps take some solace. Just as it so dramatically turned for the worse, the weather should, in theory at least, be as capable of dramatically turning for the better, hopefully in the very near future.

Still, all this volatility is enough to make you wonder whether your fortune might be more easily made abroad. And if rumours are to be believed, that's what Arcadia boss Sir Philip Green is thinking about.

It's not that he hasn't done very nicely over here, thank you very much. Apparently, he's just taking a more serious look at the US after a successful launch of Kate Moss's range in New York last month.

I checked the weather forecast for New York - it's blistering sunshine for the next week at least, and not a grey cloud in sight.

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