Will it be a bleak Christmas in the UK?

With just over 80 days until Christmas there’s been more bad news today.  The BBC and the Times are reporting that Nick Hood of Begbies Traynor has said “Christmas 2009 could see just as many retail casualties as last year” and last Christmas 15 retail firms went into administration, including Zavvi, MFI, Whittard and Woolworths.  Over the last 12 months many people have lost their jobs and those with money are being cautious because of the planned tax rises in the New Year, the ever increasing cost of petrol thanks to the governments recent tax increase and a general feeling on insecurity.    Many retailers will be playing it safe and won’t be buying in any more stock than they are sure of selling before Christmas – so expect popular items to sell out before Christmas this year.

Meanwhile I feel like I’ve woken up in an episode of Life on Mars because it has been reported that the postal union in the UK will almost certainly be calling a series of national strikes to seriously disrupt the delivery of peoples Christmas cards, presents and deliveries from online retailers.  Let’s hope that the management of the Royal Mail and the unions sort this out before they give the government the excuse they need to push ahead with a full privatization of this essential service.  Is it asking too much to expect a reliable, affordable and modern postal system in the UK in 2009?  Would a breakdown of the postal system be tolerated in any other developed country at such as busy time of year?  What do you think?

I’ll be back tomorrow hopefully with a more positive story.

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