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Opinion: Doom-mongers are threatening us all

According to the latest poll running on, 81% of retailers report that their customers are “worried about the economy”.
That’s a pretty hefty figure, but many of you may not be surprised by it, not least those who voted.

What we don’t know, however, is what kind of retailers responded to that question (for instance, one would expect the customers of young fashion retailers to be less concerned with, if not entirely oblivious of, such matters) or on what evidence they are basing their answer. Surely they are not actually asking people as they walk through the door?

It is unlikely of course, but this poll did get me thinking about the dangers of talking ourselves into a slump, or at least into a greater slump than we already find ourselves in.

In the letters column of a national newspaper last week I read a correspondence from a young consumer who claimed to be £30,000 in debt (a not uncommonly high figure) and had vowed, based on negative stories in the media, to stop spending and pay it all back.

A sensible move indeed, but his parting thought was that if everyone in his position took the same action then those sectors that are artificially supported by consumer debt would suffer severely.

Fashion of course is one sector that does, to some extent, rely on consumers spending beyond their means to sustain its performance. And that is a bubble that was always bound to burst sooner or later. But there are still many customers who can well afford to keep on spending, and the doom-mongers are in danger of scaring them off too.

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