No matter what the long-term outcome of the political whirlwind of the last few months culminating in that referendum on June 23rd, the fact is that the spending seems to have stopped.
Footfall has footfallen in my little village, and internet activity has slowed on my little website (exept you made it: congratulations!). In both cases, I have no previous year's data to compare with, so this is incredibly scientific. Ahem. And the time frame of just a few weeks at peak holiday season is bound to be ideal and representative. Ahem, again. Notwithstanding, and as well as that, a recent auction I was at was pretty poor (see previous post). No names, no pack drill, but if it showed a trend, then times is well and truly 'ard. What's more, the local pub says 'the season has just never got going'. But if spending on antiques is down again, why? It makes no sense. I blogged here about the value of furniture being at a thirty year low. So, point 1 reflects that; value is never better.
Gold and silver seem to be on the march too and have already returned to levels of five years ago, so point 2, antiques including jewellery, silverware and so on is better than the bank.
And point 3? Interest rates have just come down, so what is your money earning in the bank?
Fourth is the exchange rate, so if you are reading this from West, East, North or South of the UK, everything here is now at an amazing discount.
Fifthly and probably lastly, for UK customers, everything that travels across water is 20%+ more expensive.
So the answer? Turn inwards. Turn away from the sea and look inland. Because you can't buy antique furniture cheaper in the UK (and read elsewhere for the Ikea argument about buying cheap new crap that is worth a tenth of what you pay for it the second your credit card goes through the till). Not only that, but you can buy in the knowledge that you are at the bottom of a market (if it does go down another 10% (which it won't IMO), and you need to sell it the minute you buy it, well you'd still lose less than on a new piece: 10% rather than the 90-95% loss that swiping your card involves).
So the maths is compelling enough, but the other aspect is that if enough people do it, you are stimulating the whole economy. No matter which side of the argument you were on on June 23rd you can't argue with the fact that spending in your local shops stimulates your area, because every pound spent locally according to LM3 has a 400% equivalent benefit.
A mere 10% increase in local spending would have a hugely significant effect (see the 'New Economics Forum' for a discussion of LM3. I leave you to work out the arithmetic). So my request, no, my PLEA to you is to think about your local high St, your local retailers and whatever your politics to try and use them more. High streets without individual shops that are either empty or full of national chains are dull and frankly two a penny: every medium sized and upwards town is identikit now. And hey, add 10% to White Stuff or Waitrose or, heaven forfend, TopShop, Ikea and the like and who benefits? Your local painter decorator, the window cleaner, the chippy, the greengrocer? No, none of these, but faceless corporates & shareholders, or people like Sir Philip Green. Yes, they all have their place, the identikit shops, but they won't even notice 10% more. We local shops really do notice.
And we're really grateful