It is starting to feel like we have slipped into a recession, even though official economic figures indicate otherwise.
News from retailers has been pretty depressing this week. Marks and Spencer lost 25% of its share value when it issued a profits warning and we hear today that sales at John Lewis have slumped by 8.3%.
John Lewis sales in some southern out of town shopping centres fell by 25%, presumably because people are less willing to drive long distances to retail parks.
The gloom for these large retailers is not being shared by the discount chains such as Aldi, who are seeing sales growth of 20%. Their customers have been shunning the higher cost of food at mainstream supermarkets and buying their weekly shopping in these cheaper shops instead.
There isn’t much to say about the state of the property market and the parlous situation of our leading house builders. Barratt’s announcement today of 1000 job losses is the latest in a line of building industry redundancies .
New cars? Well their sales are down 6% too, although there has been a 4% rise in the sales of new diesel powered cars.
If people are not talking about how much it’s costing to fill their car up at the petrol station, they are complaining about their weekly food bills.
Are we in a recession then? As I said, officially no, but while we feel hard up and desperate to reduce our living costs, it won’t be long until statistics show that we are officially in a recession.