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Talk our way out of the credit crunch

Credit crunch, global meltdown. Six months ago I had never heard of these terms, but now they have become part of our daily vocabulary. While there are definitely testing times ahead, how much of it is fact and how much is perception?

If we keep talking about a recession we will definitely have one. I am fed up hearing about it. It’s not a case of burying my head in the sand, it’s more about trying to focus on the positive. It does seem as if the national press delights in talking up the negative, but in a billion-pound retail industry surely it isn’t beyond the wit of the movers and shakers to invest some of their huge bonuses into PR that represents the industry as a whole and not just their individual companies?

How do we change the public’s views and loosen their purse strings ? I’m no expert but I understand the concept of “spin”. For every petrol price hike there is a Mary Portas or Gordon Ramsay success story. For every interest rate rise, there is an Ugg boot phenomenon.

Surely we should be talking about the massive new Westfield shopping development at White City. It will be London’s largest shopping centre, creating about 7,000 jobs and generating millions of pounds.

How many people even know about it? Not many I would guess. This is positive news about our industry that we should be shouting from the rooftops. Every Monday when I receive my bestsellers report I go to the shop floors and talk to the staff about sales, and one thing that is clear is that customers are waiting before they spend their cash.

People won’t spend when they are unsure of their future, so we need to counter the fea.r factor with some feel-good messages.

Michael Ashison co-owns footwear and young fashion business Bullfrogs in London.

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