With the last week of shopping upon us will retailers find that spending remains consistent or will people be pulling the belt in? The predictions seem to be that people will continue to spend and make sure they have a good Christmas but won't go mad. As concerns and worries about job security, another recession and inflation nag away at shoppers their will to spend declines. So the retailers can only hope for the best for the next few days of trading and through to the sales.
The biggest concern I think is what will 2012 look like? With growth slowing in the economy and predictions of another recession next year, the picture is not looking rosy for the retail sector. Some will fare better than others I suspect as companies like John Lewis continues to grow year on year (as of Sunday 17th Dec had taken a record breaking £130 million for the week). Whilst HMV are reporting pre-tax losses of £45.7 million and shares down by 12.1% it is a different picture entirely.
Whether Greg Clark, the MP appointed to implement the recommendations that Mary Portas made as part of her review will be able to make any difference or not I don't know - we shall see. I certainly think the landscape is changing when it comes to retail sales and retailers really do need to make sure they are offering something that is more of an experience to attract shoppers in store. I was in Hollister in London last week and it felt more like some classy nightclub than a shop with its low lighting and sweeping staircases. The amount of people in their stores constantly shows how popular the concept is - who'd have ever thought shopping in the dark would catch on? The point is it is different; it is a shopping experience and everyone wants to go and shop there.
I think 2012 will see a few more big name retailers struggling and equally we will see the winners emerge that have the vision and drive to keep people interested, that make their stores a destination and an experience...and not just do what they've always done.