Rose: Shoppers can cope

City A.M. Reporter
Stuart Rose, chairman of bellwether British retailer Marks & Spencer, said consumers can cope with government spending cuts and retail sales will grow next year, even though trading will be tough.

“I believe that consumers want clarity and what the chancellor did last week was give consumers absolute clarity about what to expect,” Rose said on the sidelines of the World Retail Congress when asked about last week’s package of cuts to rein in the deficit.

“With clarity comes, I think, more confidence,” he said. Rose brushed off recent data showing a drop in retail sales and consumer confidence, saying this was partly due to uncertainty over the government spending review and to less favourable weather for retailers than last year.

He said the key Christmas trading period would be “hard fought, but... OK” and retail sales would grow next year, although trading conditions would not be easy.

“I think it will be exactly what we have seen – the weak will get weaker and the strong will get stronger.”