Blog: Don't green shoot the messenger
Dean Best | 9 June 2009
The phrase “green shoots of recovery” has become something of a cliché here in the UK. Certainly any politician that has used it recently has been shot down quickly by detractors who claim the individual must be wildly out of touch with reality, mad or both.
That said, businessmen, politicians and commentators alike are still desperately searching for any signs the proverbial shoots exist.
On first view, today's figures on retail sales values in May offer little good news on that front.
Facing a strong comparison with figures in the same month last year, UK retail sales values fell in May, despite a boost from warm weather and the bank holidays.
Sales fell 0.8% on a like-for-like basis and rose only 0.8% on a total basis, from May 2008, when sales rose strongly in the sunny weather. Food sales slowed after a strong Easter boost in April.
Usually, we wouldn't take much notice of monthly figures as they can be wildly unrelated to the overall trend. That said there was enough in the figures for Joanne Denney-Finch, chief executive, of IGD, to offer some optimism, and that, these days, is worth a comment.
“At last, some sources are beginning to report signs of economic stabilisation: the stock market is strengthening, the pound is up and confidence seems to be improving. Even the weather was good in May, especially in the second half,” she said.
Wisely, though, she quickly dampened down any thoughts she may stray into green shoot territories.
“There is a long way to go, however, and the difficult climate is being reflected in shopping choices. IGD research shows that 28% of shoppers have changed their grocery shopping habits and most say they will not change back, regardless of any economic recovery."
Since Theresa May took over as UK Prime Minister in the wake of the country's referendum vote to quit the European Union, she and her ministers have been at pains not to divulge their negotiating posi...
Greenpeace's long-running campaign against UK tuna brand John West, owned by seafood giant Thai Union, is now directing its fire against Sainsbury's....
The Obama administration appears to have conceded the landmark Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal will not be pushed through in the lame-duck session of Congress before Donald Trump is inaugur...
- Unilever 2016 investor day - the top takeaways
- Have food promotions reached tipping point?
- Mondelez goes beyond certified cocoa - analysis
- What Premier CEO Gavin Darby thinks about Brexit
- How Tyson's new CEO plans to grow the meat group
- Nestle unveils process to cut sugar by 40%
- Putin 'wants embargo to run as long as possible'
- Unilever sets new margin target with help from ZBB
- Unilever focuses on "value" of spreads arm
- McCormick to buy flavours business Enrico Giotti