It appears the credit crunch crisis is only deepening as we dive nose first into a sub-zero January. The last Woolworths store finally closes today and high street stores Next and Debenhams have both reported losses this morning.
Indeed, if you take a glance at Sky News’ business page, we’re also informed that M&S might be announcing job cuts, consumer confidence is at a record low, hundreds of high street jobs have been axed and house prices have fallen at a record rate. Hand me the knife…
Forgive me for being blasé, but this isn’t quite the optimistic start to the year I was hoping for. Delve a little deeper and you discover that the drop in sales for Next is actually countered by a rise in profits, a far more important figure. Turnover: vanity, profit: sanity – a motto I regularly think back to whilst conducting my day to day work. I understand that a drop in sales revenue is indicative of a lack of consumer confidence, but at least these companies are making money. If they’re making money, they can pay staff, and those staff will eventually regain the confidence to pop into town and spend a bit of their hard-earned. And we all benefit from that (it’s a bit like the circle of life reference in The Lion King, only far more boring and lacking any cutesy lion cub).
But this is the crux of the problem. How do we get that confidence back? It certainly isn’t easy with all the doom mongering in the media and the po-faced heads of industry predicting colossal job cuts. We’re supposed to be a stoic, proud country, but one glance at the headlines this morning suggests we’ve simply given in and begun crying into our empty wallets.
The answer certainly isn’t to spend our way out of recession, it is to lift our heads, get back to our desks and work our proverbials off. That’s what I’ll be doing this year. I just hope everyone else does, or else we will be in the sticky stuff.
Oh, and don’t take anything Eamonn Holmes says too seriously. He used to present GMTV, remember.