Your browser is no longer supported. For the best experience of this website, please upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

Easter is crunch time for retailers

Jessica Brown

Sitting in the beer garden of your average edge-of-town pub in Nottingham a fortnight ago, I was shocked to overhear that the thrust of conversation among weekend drinkers was solely around jobs and money, or rather a lack of them.

Sitting in the beer garden of your average edge-of-town pub in Nottingham a fortnight ago, I was shocked to overhear that the thrust of conversation among weekend drinkers was solely around jobs and money, or rather a lack of them.

Living in the bubble of London gives a false impression of how the average consumer is feeling (or rather suffering). Even the 18 to 24-year-old lads were talking about redundancy packages, lack of contracts at work, the price of petrol and the tax on cigarettes unveiled in the Chancellor’s most recent budget rather than the usual girl chit-chat and bragging. The fact these lads were drinking at the edge of town rather than in the city centre also spoke volumes.

Five days later The Times led with the front-page headline ‘Discount Britain struggles as consumer crunch bites’ and even off-price chain TK Maxx went on clearance Sale, while two high street chief executives told me this March had been the worst in memory for fashion sales. Those that are doing “OK” (“well” would be too strong a word) are typically coming off an incredibly low base or they are a footwear specialist.

Meanwhile, an afternoon looking at the menswear stores in The Centre MK in Milton Keynes indicated just how much pressure retailers are under. Complex BOGOFs, 2 for 1s and 25% off plus free cinema tickets for your cat and dog (OK, the last one may be slightly exaggerated)v dominated. Wouldn’t a traditional Sale be more effective?

We are now almost certainly staring into a double-dip recession but retailers are in two camps over whether to stay full-price into the pivotal Easter break. Warmer days have heated up sales but only to tepid. Our exclusive consumer sentiment survey with OnePoll should help make up your mind.

Jessica Brown Executive editor

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions. Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.