Blog: Leonie BarrieA bumpy road to recovery

Leonie Barrie | 5 January 2010

With the festive season now out of the way, the focus is already shifting to Christmas trading, looking at how retailers performed over the period and also the prognosis for consumer confidence in the months ahead.

A clutch of UK retailers, including Next, Sainsbury's, Marks & Spencer, and JD Sports Fashion are due to update on their recent performance this week – providing a first look at how business has fared for some of the key names in the sector.

And in the US, leading retailers will on Thursday report sales at stores open at least a year, giving investors the most detailed picture yet of holiday performance.

While most results are expected to be better than last year, observers still suggest the data will just mark an improvement and not a recovery. Retailers kept their inventories tight and reduced expenses, while shoppers were lured by big bargains and last-minute purchases. And many are now widely expected to return their focus to saving money. 

The numbers may also shed light on their positions heading into the spring season – and for the year ahead. And the prognosis is that 2010 will be another tough year, with worries about unemployment and economic uncertainty meaning  retailers will have to continue to work hard to win the battle for customers.


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