Lifestyle report prompts Mintel research director to predict gloomy outlook for 2012

Mintel retail research director Richard Perks gave a gloomy forecast for the retail market at the last week's Garden Industry Manufacturers' Association's business meeting.

Perks, picking up on Mintel's lifestyle report, said consumer attitudes to the recession meant the leisure market had suffered most.

Consumer confidence is down, but people are prepared to spend on food and clothes, he said. Garden centres were bucking the slump in eating out, but fuel price rises could hit future growth.

He highlighted household goods as "having the most appalling time" and garden products had suffered, too.

Perks said retailers usually cut prices because they had too much stock. But he added: "The risk is you damage your brand if you discount. UK consumers love a bargain, although they are pretty sophisticated when seeking value for money. It's got to be worth it."

He predicted that although December would not be bad, in 2012 incomes would be squeezed. He also expects the Olympic boost to be short-lived, the euro crisis to have a serious impact and unemployment and interest rates to rise when the economy recovers.

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