The high street has faced many challenges throughout the recession; declining consumer confidence, tough market conditions and increased competition, not to mention the pressure put on the high street from the rise of online shopping.
However, towards the end of 2009, the high street enjoyed a brief uplift in consumer spending and looked forward to a profitable Christmas and New Year and then came the big freeze and again all hopes of growth were suspended as retailers again attempted to consolidate their businesses in the face of massively challenging market conditions.
When the coalition government was announced a further decline in consumer confidence and subsequently spending was feared by the retail sector, however, recent figures from the Office National Statistics reveal that retail figures have actually increased over the last month. Martin Welsh, chief economic advisor to the Forum of Small Businesses and Private Enterprise comments;
“These figures are a testament to the steely determination of the UK’s retail sector. However, the fact that growth is so marginal further indicates that we are a long way from establishing firm economic recovery. It is likely that the retail sector will have to cope with the further challenges of VAT increases and rising inflation this year and subsequently, government support has never been more important