The downturn in Britain is showing its teeth on the country’s High Streets. One of the country’s oldest and best-loved names, Woolworths, has put its shops and distribution network into administration.
Saddled with debt worth more than 460-million euros, the bosses decided the businesses were no longer a going concern. In the run-up to Christmas – a time when till-bells should be jingling – other big retailers are haggling.
One shopper said: “The other week I was in Brent Cross. You walk into a store normally and things are at a fixed price. Well I went into the store, and a guy came up to me knowing that maybe I had money to spend, and offered me: ‘Look, if you buy anything today you’ll get a 15% discount.” Business definitely has been affected, and yes, people are cutting back (spending) in general. It’s good for people who want to spend money, like myself, because we get things cheaper.”
The John Lewis chain – seen by many as a benchmark of retail trends – has experienced a drop in sales for the 11th week in a row, warning things are likely to get tougher. And another bastion of UK retail therapy, Marks and Spencer, had to slash prices by 20 per cent for a day in a pre-Christmas sale to get shoppers shopping.