The latest retailer to report tough trading times is London department store Harrods as they see profits slump as a result of increased legal costs, slow sales and poor window cleaning.
This flag ship retailer in the trendy area of Knightsbridge, London has been a pillar of the capitals Christmas commerce for 1,000 years but has encountered problems following the economic credit crunch and allegations against their flamboyant owner.
Traditionally a destination for shoppers all over the world Harrods has encountered stiff competition this year from beleaguered Woolworths who have been rejuvenated following the latest discount weekends. One shopper on Oxford Street said "Woollies is not as good but it's cheaper and we have less money."
Their like for like budget, forecast versus a revised budget in the next forecast of profits minus gross payments divided by reduced VAT shows them in complete economic turmoil has the accountants struggle to keep up with the changes affecting their reporting systems and explain to the board the companies current position.
A source inside the shop claimed "A 2.5% reduction across all lines has proved tricky in managing the performance of how we would usually perform but can't because the prices are different but the costs stay the same despite changing the VAT."
They also face problems managing their traditions as an in flux of foreign, less skilled workers has affected the Harrods legendary window displays. Fingerprints and other such 'smears' have been hampering the view of the displays that take 14 days to build.
The Window Cleaners Union - Better Union of Cleaners Key to Enterprise, Training and Selection (or BUCKETS) that represent the workers managing the Harrods job have released a statement denying responsibility instead claiming Harrods were at fault for "not paying enough to replace the antique sponges."
This news has caused fear to spread across the high street as institutions like Harrods are now under threat how will this affect consumer confidence in other retailers? Rumours circulating that property entrepreneurs and the cast of Dragons Den are moving to snap up retail buildings to convert into buy to let dwellings is also causing nervous tension, perhaps this spells the end of shopping in the UK as we know it?