‘Tough times still ahead’ for consumers

Consumers struggling with debt have been warned by an industry expert that recent difficulties may yet reappear.

Richard Perks, director of retail …

Consumers struggling with debt have been warned by an industry expert that recent difficulties may yet reappear.

Richard Perks, director of retail research for Mintel, was responding to figures released by the British Retail Consortium in its latest Retail Sales Monitor, which showed a 2.2 per cent rise in UK sale values.

Mr Perks acknowledged the increase but cautioned that this was not the beginning of an improvement in the industry.

He said: “Incomes are being squeezed again now … I think the tough times are really still to come.”

Consumers may feel like they’re in a “double-dip recession” by the end of the year, he claimed.

Despite growth in the product sector, food purchases witnessed a reduction, blamed largely on the extreme weather in January.

The Local Data Company announced in February that town centre job vacancies had risen to 12 per cent across the nation at the end of December 2009 – two per cent more than that recorded in the middle of the year.

By Joe Shervin

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