OPINION15 July 2011

Picking up where we left off

It’s been a good few weeks since I wrote the ‘Money matters’ article and it’s really interesting to revisit it, given the somewhat sad developments in the high street. We’ve seen Focus DIY, Jane Norman, Homeform and Habitat all go into administration and Mothercare announce that it’s to close a quarter of its stores – all examples of retailers who occupied the ‘squeezed middle ground’ I described.

The other interesting bit of data to come out the other week was that UK households have seen the biggest fall in disposable income for more than 30 years.

We all know our economy was put onto a life support system three years ago, and these facts just provide further evidence that we’re very much still in the intensive care unit.

Retailers are finding it particularly tough as they grapple with already low demand and increased pressures on their costs. The longer this goes on, the more it will have an enduring impact on consumers’ attitudes and behaviour – in turn shaping the way we work with them as researchers.