I expect the warning from Debenhams as to the impact of poor Christmas sales to be repeated by others as it becomes apparent that this was the not only first time that more consumers planned to go on-line on Christmas Day than went to the Boxing Day sales – but that their intentions were reinforced by the weather and transport problems.
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Last year my wife and I went up to Oxford Street before Christmas and I bought her a hand bag from Debenhams. This year the weather forecast was so bad we shopped on line. To my surprise John Lewis did indeed deliver her latest handbag the next day. We bought almost everything else within a two mile radius of home – but our local electrical store closed this year so a replacement electric kettle had to be bought on-line instead of round the corner.
I expect that the poor off-line sales this Christmas will increase the pressure on the Chancellor of the Exchequer to level the playing field between retailers who pay VAT, Business Rates and Corporation Tax within the UK and those who do not.
He needs the money.
His party needs the votes.
Politics meets IT with a vengeance.