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UK austerity destroys economy
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TOPIC: UK austerity destroys economy
#14950
UK austerity destroys economy 2 Years, 4 Months ago Karma: 255
No surprises here.

EVERY nation that chooses to embark on Friedman Fascism will not "fix" their economy; rather they will simply DESTROY their economy - in as rapid and ugly a manner as possible.

And so we see the entire UK retail sector going down the tubes, one of the FIRST victims of an economy stripped of all spending power and prosperity.

We can expect the downward spiral of the UK economy to rapidly gain steam in 2012 - unless the out-of-control money-printing (i.e. "QE") is expanded even further. And all that will do is to turn the UK's Greater Depression into a hyperinflationary depression.


"U.K. Stores Brace for Most Insolvencies Since 2008 as Sales Weaken: Retail"

www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-12-21/u-k-st...s-weaken-retail.html

U.K. retail insolvencies may reach the highest level in four years as weak Christmas sales leave chains struggling to meet rent payments due this month, according to restructuring firm AlixPartners LLP.

“We are likely to see a number of retail collapses early in the new year and it could include some much-loved names,” Sanjay Bailur, managing director of the advisory firm’s U.K. unit, said in an interview. The outlook is “worse than the last three or four years.”

A disappointing Christmas season may be the nail in the coffin for retailers who have been barely hanging on for years. Many in sectors like value clothing, books, music, and toys “have lost their focus and have ended up with too many unprofitable stores, resulting in failed expansion plans, both domestically and overseas,” Bailur said.

Thorntons Plc (THT), a U.K. confectionery maker, fell the most in at least 22 years today after saying annual profit will miss estimates. Earlier this week, HMV Plc, the U.K.’s biggest CD and DVD retailer with more than 250 stores and 163.7 million pounds ($254 million) of debt, said that insufficient sales may cast “significant doubt” on its future. Outdoor clothing chain Blacks Leisure Group Plc (BSLA) put itself up for sale this month after shares plunged 95 percent in 2011.

Consumer Confidence

U.K. consumer confidence fell to the lowest level since the depths of the financial crisis in 2009 driven by concern about a financial recovery and the euro region debt crisis, according to GfK NOP Ltd. U.K. retail sales slumped 1.6 percent in November, the most in six months, according to the British Retail Consortium, as shoppers held out for discounts and cut back on festive spending amid warnings of a looming recession.

Quarterly rents, which U.K. chains pay three months in advance, are due on Dec. 25 for the majority of retailers. Landlords and bank lenders anticipate that stores will have lucrative Christmas revenue in the till by then, said Jonathan De Mello, head of retail consultancy at property broker CB Richard Ellis Group Inc. Retailers who have had a tough Christmas may not survive, he said.

Thorntons tumbled as much as 36 percent and was down 34 percent at 25.25 pence as of 9 a.m. in London. Both HMV and Blacks fell to all-time lows on Dec. 19.

The FTSE All-Share General Retailers Index (FARETG) is down 16 percent this year, compared with a 9.7 percent decline in the broader index. Game Group Plc is the worst performer with a 90 percent drop, followed by Mothercare Plc, whose chief executive officer stepped down in October.
Debt to Equity

HMV and electronics retailer Game Group have the worst debt to enterprise value -- the sum of equity and net debt -- of U.K. listed retailers valued at more than 10 million pounds, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. That could leave shareholders open to being “wiped out” if things go wrong, according to Philip Dorgan, an analyst at Panmure Gordon in London.

“The December quarter rent date will be a catalyst for a lot of the retailers,” De Mello said. “It’s a foregone conclusion in many respects that some retailers will pare down stores, some will go into CVA and some will potentially cease to exist entirely.” A CVA is a company voluntary agreement, where creditors are offered compensation in return for ending leases.

“It will definitely be as bad as 2008 in terms of store closures,” he said.

AlixPartners, which is advising Makro, a U.K. self-service wholesale business owned by Metro AG of Germany, said middle- market clothing chains make up the majority of companies seeking advice.
Woolworth’s, Peacock

In 2008, the 815-store Woolworth’s Group Plc chain was the highest-profile casualty of the consumer downturn after 100 years in business. Barratts Priceless Group, a 191-store shoe chain, went into administration -- analogous to Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the U.S. -- on Dec. 8 and Sky News reported fashion chain Peacock may close 200 stores as part of its restructuring. Billionaire Topshop owner Philip Green said he is planning to cull about 250 of the Arcadia Group Plc stores.

“Most retailers have already done the basic ‘lemon squeezing,’ cost reduction” after the 2008 slump that followed the collapse of Lehman Brothers Holding Inc., AlixPartner’s Bailur said.

The focus now is reducing costs through more “intelligent approaches” like adding more staff in-store to encourage customers to trade up within ranges, increasing availability of high turnover products and reducing supply-chain cost inflation.

Instead of pre-packaged administration plans, which can damage the brand’s reputations and result in the wrong stores being closed, he encourages renegotiating with landlords, finding exit strategies for individual leases and assessing demand for potential occupiers.
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#14999
Re: UK austerity destroys economy 2 Years, 4 Months ago Karma: 10
The big question for the UK (and everyone else) is how to adjust an economy that's in recession due to past borrowing?
The austerity cuts have hardly begun. Raising tax rates for high incomes would be a start, plus also collecting taxes from companies who seem to get off lightly in the UK.
It's a case of print or default. Default would be a quicker and arguably better solution, but default would bring down a lot of banks and the pension schemes they run for the private sector.
The Labour Party opposition seems to keep arguing for more borrowing and public spending even though their own plans, had they won the last election, amounted to very similar cuts. Both the UK and US are in very similar positions...... Probably in a worse condition than most of the Euro zone ...... But if the UK and US banking systems fail it's game over for everyone.
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Last Edit: 2011/12/23 17:47 By Norbull.
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#15002
Re: UK austerity destroys economy 2 Years, 4 Months ago Karma: 255
Norbull, there is no mystery and no controversy here once we simply examine the facts - something the idiot-economists and even more moronic politicians REFUSE to do.

We have massive STRUCTURAL unemployment, so obviously we have to restructure the labour market. There is only one way to "restructure" a labour market: reduce the length of the work week so that EVERYONE can work.

Our economies are STRUCTURALLY insolvent. ALL of the wealth is contained in the hoards of the ultra-wealthy. The hordes must be taxed.

There is nothing complicated here. Our economies WILL never again be able to provide anywhere near full employment with a five-day work week (which was always a terribly inefficient economic model).

Our economies can NEVER be solvent again if we continue to allow the ultra-wealthy to have a free ride - which they get AUTOMTACIALLY in any/every income taxation system.

This is all simple arithmetic, and as such is totally beyond contradiction.
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#15003
Re: UK austerity destroys economy 2 Years, 4 Months ago Karma: 10
Hi Jeff,
I agree on the working week change idea. It may surprise you, if you've not already seen it, that Sir Richard Branson also started promoting this idea last week ........... So maybe some of the super rich have a concience!
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#15004
Re: UK austerity destroys economy 2 Years, 4 Months ago Karma: 10
But just to add to that comment on shortening the working week (and you may have already made this point in another post) it would be resisted by many, especially those with two big incomes in the family and outgoings to match! Could such a proposal be phased-in fast enough to solve or help solve the underlying problem?
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#15006
Re: UK austerity destroys economy 2 Years, 4 Months ago Karma: 255
Norbull, almost EVERYONE (except the unemployed) will resist the idea. Workers will resist it because it will mean a short-term decline in wages (in return for greater leisure time); while employers will resist it since it means inevitably HIGHER wages for all workers (and relatively lower wages for management).

It was resisted when we were working 7 days a week, 12 hours a days; it was resisted when we worked 6 days a week.

Economic history is utterly conclusive. There is no bigger "stimulus" for an economy than having ALL workers with money in their pockets - rather than holding out their hands because there's not enough jobs for everyone.

We have 200 years of economic evolution showing that any and EVERY reduction of the workd week makes EVERYONE more prosperous over the long term.

Short-term human stupidity is a problem which we simply have to deal with...
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