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Comment on the British Retail Consortium (BRC) Retail Sales figures for September 2008

"UK retail sales figures continue to fall each month on a like-for-like basis against 2007 down 1.5 per cent in October. Sales have now been lower each month continually for seven straight months. These results reflect the unprecedented challenges faced in the high street caused by a combination of insecurity, lack of consumer confidence and reduced disposable income.

"As we approach Christmas we are witnessing a tightening of consumer belts which has undoubtedly seen an increase in window shopping prior to a likely seasonal splurge closer to the holiday season. The interest rate cut may well bring welcome relief in the coming months but shopkeepers will have to be fully on their mettle if they are to grab their fair share of custom in the run up to Christmas.

"Consumers are concentrating their lighter pockets on the weekly shop, seeing increases in food and drink, whereas the more luxury items, such as clothing and footwear, continue to bear the brunt of frugality as people are holding back in anticipation of early sales this year before making larger purchases.

"To attract the consumer in the current retail climate winners will be able to combine two key ingredients above all others – the ability to appeal to the shoppers ‘impulse to buy’ through innovation, design and quality, and good old fashioned ‘value for money."