Blog: Dean BestRoad to recovery will be anything but smooth

Dean Best | 4 January 2010

Welcome back one and all. We trust you had an enjoyable Christmas and New Year. We did - although just-food's editor fell victim to the ice and is currently at his desk with his arm in a sling after fracturing his elbow. (No sniggering at the back - ed).

At this time of the year, business minds tend to turn to Christmas trading, how retailers performed over the festive period and the prognosis for consumer confidence in the months ahead.

A clutch of UK retailers, including Sainsbury's and Marks and Spencer, will give an update on their recent performance in the coming days, although Asda has claimed a "solid" Christmas and Waitrose insisted sales had "exceeded expectations".

Nevertheless, 2010 promises to be a challenging year - not least because of the enduring uncertainty around the economy and public finances around the world.

Optimism over festive sales could last as long as the Christmas decorations stay up. Most consumers prefer to push the boat out over Christmas and think about the consequences and deal with the credit card bills a few weeks later. To read too much into buoyant-looking Christmas sales figures could be misleading.

With two more UK retailers to face the market this week, executives will look to shed more light on the prospects for the country's grocery sector. Just don't expect too much certainty on the year ahead.


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