Two days ago, I said to K:
Construction and financial firms have suffered so far, but the high street’s been unscathed. That’s what we’ve been seeing, and that’s why everyone you interview in voxpops about the credit munch always says “it’s not really affected me yet, although I’m sure it will, haha!”
My guess is that it’s the semi-rubbish shops that will have troubles next. Argos will probably be OK as it’s spread its bets across a wide range of tat, and Poundstretcher’s products are all made of wet paper bags stitched together by zero-wage labourers in China: there’s no pretence of quality and no reliance on narrow profit margins. They’ll both be fine. Buildings and electrician suppliers will probably fare better than the construction trade as a whole, because there’s a guarantee of quality and sturdiness there and they do deal direct with the consumer, so I imagine the likes of Maplin and Wickes will weather the storm.
No, it’ll be the lifestyle consumer-goods that’ll have real troubles. Those shit we-know-nothing-about-computers electronics giants, where thickie salesmen roam the aisles, preying on indecision, like Dixons—oh, no, they’re called currys-dot-digital now, aren’t they?—especially because large white goods sales have also ground to a halt. Some of the sub-Habitat furniture suppliers will get jittery as well, the ones that are less friendly to consumers than, say, Ikea; where you can’t buy anything there and then and take the damn thing home, but instead have to wait in for a whole working day, a month later, to receive delivery of something that might not even be what you asked for.
As far as supermarkets are concerned, Woolies or *** have been coasting for years, but who knows how they make their money?
I don’t wish that I’d said something that pointed earlier, although it’s lovely to break this sort of news: rumours about a company’s performance, that might affect that performance, can be prosecuted under libel laws in this country. But in retrospect I wish I was a betting man.