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New report adds to retail gloom

A new report from Verdict Research has added to the gloom being predicted for the UK retail sector this year. According to the report, reduced spending among consumers in 2008 will see like for like retail sales drop by 0.2 per cent. The decline is expected to be driven by household budgets being squeezed by rising gas and electricity bills, with much of the county facing double-digit increases. Neil Saunders, consulting director of Verdict said: "Costs for households are outstripping income growth by some margin. The upshot is that the consumer will cut back on retail spending."The UK consumer is going to feel the pinch in 2008. This means one thing - for the foreseeable future, the era of solid year-on-year growth for retail is over."Figures from the British Retail Consortium show that like for like sales during January were up 2.5 per cent, although this was attributed by analysts to heavy discounting during the seasonal sales.

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