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Waging war on the economic crisis

Is the ‘keep calm and carry on’ ethos becoming hackneyed?

We’ve bought the poster, we’ve seen it on the tea towels and it was quite funny as an apron. I’ve had womenswear catalogues in the form of ration books and Union Jack cushions with a 1940s vibe. But just as Second World War memorabilia as a range of homeware is beginning to tire, we’re actually having to live by the wartime motto.

I have tried, wherever possible, to avoid any talk of credit crunch, to deny its incursion into the cosy, comfortable world of my business, but it has become an unavoidable reality for us all and I feel I have to acknowledge it and devise some kind of battle strategy.

BBC News business editor Robert Peston is on the radio every day convincing any possible retail consumer that their money is under threat of attack and that they should take shelter from spending.

The downturn in retail spending has been more pronounced than the downturn in the broader economy. There seems to be a fear ofexpenditure developing and in this climate we have to make sure that the whole process of spending is pleasurable for all of our customers.

I don’t want to hang out in the Anderson shelter waiting for the crisis to pass. I don’t want to start cutting prices to lure people into the shop. I want to weather this particular storm by conveying my genuine enjoyment of this job, by making the very best of the products available and the environment and the people around me, and by being cheerful and optimistic.

I would very much like to keep calm, carry on and run my store as normal.

Victoria Suffield is the owner of lifestyle boutique The Hambledon in Winchester, Hampshire

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