The Editor 

Sharpen the axe

The Editor

Sharpen the axe

A well-followed barometer of the state of the UK economy is the appetite of its shoppers to unholster their credit cards. And what better time to gauge that hungriness than the annual orgy of consumption that is Christmas. Trading figures for the festive season are always closely watched as one of the first signs of the economic weather that may lie ahead, and so far the outlook has been fairly grim. Footfall at the Boxing Day sales is said to be 5 per cent down on 2016, despite increasingly tempting discounts on offer.

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