Is it our civic DUTY to go out and spend to save our shops and help the economy?
Since the big crash of October ’08, we have all been trying our very best to watch our spending and to be frugal. This is a great thing in many ways. We are finding other hobbies, most likely one that are more fulfilling than shopping. We have gone back into our kitchens to actually cook instead of microwaving a ready meal.
Many of us have been valiantly working on getting our finances in order, just in case the worst happens and we are made redundant, but what happens when we stop shopping?
Many stores have reported major losses over the past few months, especially the higher end department stores like Harvey Nichols, who has recently reported a 40% drop in profits. In the US, Saks reported sales to be down by 14.9% and Neiman Marcus Group, which also own Bergdorf Goodman in NY is showing a $509m net loss. It is obvious that the wealthier clients are keeping their purses closed most likely because they are the ones that have lost the most in the crash.
I find it particularly worrying when John Lewis, where we go for so many of our life basics, is showing a 26% loss. We still need pots, pans and underwear but we seem to be making due.
What will happen if we continue to not shop? Will the stores that we take for granted, still be around when we are ready to open our wallets again? What about the suppliers to the stores, will they be able to continue to produce goods if we are not buying what they have already produced? Are we going to come out of this recession to find we have less choice in the market place?
What will happen to the smaller retailer that doesn’t have a huge financial cushion? These are the lovely shops and boutiques that truly enrich our lives. Is it our duty to go out and shop a bit? According to this article in The Guardian, which proposes that there will be as many as one in seven empty shops on the United Kingdom’s high streets by the end of this year. Will we be living in ghost towns where will only Primarks thrive? Yes Primark is doing very well in this recession as are supermarkets.
I know it is a daring proposition in a blog like this one to tell its readers to go out and spend a little but maybe it would be a good thing. What do you think? Can you spare £20 to help the economy and get something new?