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As retailers know, the squeeze has only just begun

·1-min read
In 2018 Joules launched a ‘Royal Baby’ collection in tribute to the Duchess of Cambridge (Aaron Chown/PA) (PA Archive)
In 2018 Joules launched a ‘Royal Baby’ collection in tribute to the Duchess of Cambridge (Aaron Chown/PA) (PA Archive)

It has to be the euphemism of the day.

Joules, the country lifestyle-inspired retailer and reported favourite of William and Kate the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, says its margins are being crushed by “customer appetite weighted toward markdowns”.

I’ll bet it is. The squeeze is really on now and even in better times British shoppers are masters at the art of sitting on their keyboards until the other guy blinks.

But these are not good times.

As the ONS reports today, real basic wages are falling at their fastest rate on record — with the public sector worst hit. Market researchers Kantar says grocery inflation has already reached almost 10%, costing consumers an average of more than £450 a year just to buy the same supermarket trolley’s worth of food and drink.

Not surprisingly, conversations on Twitter by British users about the cost of living have increased from 500 to 10,000 tweets a day since last year, according to data released from the social media platform today.

A gruesome profit warning by former stock market darling Made.com was another sign today of how the cost of living crisis is gathering pace. It will get worse, hopefully peaking over the winter with the next two rounds of energy bill hikes, before starting to subside by next spring.

In the meantime, batten down the hatches for a further slew of grim trading updates and yes, sadly the inevitable high profile corporate failures.

As for that painful “appetite for markdowns” that Joules has noticed... it has only just begun.

@JonPrynn

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