Like most people in the retail industry we’ve been working on xmas 2011 for yonks now, so it was with a slight sense of relief that the Christmas card season started last week – both Next and John Lewis displaying reasonable ranges.

For us the first sighting of the Christmas card is usually the barometer for thinking about 2012 and beyond and putting to bed the 2011 campaigns. But before I get really stuck into 2012 I thought I’d ponder a minute further on some of the questions we’ve been asking ourselves?

What will the retail landscape look like? With The British Retail Consortium, painting a gloomy picture of the high street, saying that one in 10 shops is now vacant it could certainly be rather a depressing experience. Which retailers will succumb to the September rent payments? What will an Xmas at 20% VAT be like? How much of Xmas spending this year will be influenced by the discount voucher? Which retailer will bolt first and give us an amazing early sale? Will the Pandora queue be round the block again? Will Hobbycraft sales go through the roof as we all try and achieve the ‘Kristie Allsopp’ Christmas? Will it be QR code heaven – will consumers actually engage with the technology and make it mainstream?

Whilst we have the answers for some of these questions we’ll all have to wait and see with every finger we have crossed in the hope that 2011 doesn’t turn out to be as bad as we fear!

On a more cheery note our 2012 Retail Trends Report will be out at the end of September. Drop me a note if you want to hear more.

Sue Benson