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It's all gloom, doom and despondency. Apparently

From The Publican

By Hamish Champ , 28-Jan-2008

It's getting so's you only have to get out of bed in the morning and WHAM!, there's a new economic survey just waiting to scare the pyjamas off you.

A number of polls, including one from the Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR), highlight the gloom and doom prevalent across a swathe of the country's consumer-facing sectors.

True, the ALMR's research comes to the not hugely surprising conclusion that well-invested pubs come through a tough market relatively unscathed.

While that's all well and good for those that are, what becomes of the many that aren't?

Another ray of sunshine thumped onto my desk last week, this time a piece of research from the KPMG/SPSL Retail Think Tank (RTT).

Describing itself as a "non-partisan guide to retail sector health", the group says the difficult end to 2007 "looks set to worsen" in the first quarter of 2008.

Looking further into the year, the RTT argues that demand growth will weaken as consumers rein in their spending still more. "The tough year in 2007 looks set to become even harder in 2008," the survey concludes.

Add to waning consumer confidence the banks of red screens across the world's stock markets and the US Federal Reserve implementing the largest interest rate cut - 75 basis points - since August 1982 and you've a compelling argument to support the suggestion that it's all about to go belly up.

As someone pointed out to me last week, 75 per cent of the UK's national wealth is wrapped up in the financial services sector.

With all the pressure being brought to bear on this area right now, the belief is we're nowhere near the bottom of this particular slippery slope.

Barking up the wrong tree? We'll find out soon enough.

Not everyone agrees that we're going to hell in a handcart, however. A senior Goldman Sachs executive told the World Economic Forum at the weekend that the sub-prime credit crunch debacle in the US would right itself. Now there's optimism for you.

Meanwhile, I'm off down the pub...

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