BAN is an acronym for Business As Normal which in recent years has been a roller-coaster ride of good and bad for retailers. However,it hasn't been a great start to 2016. First Dick Smith, and now Laura Ashley, fall into receivership, house auction clearance rates fall to their lowest level since 2012, and China posts another fall in business growth.
But, as often happens in business, there are different ways of looking at things. Citi analyst Craig Woolford was quoted in the Financial Review this week with a view that higher house prices, more Australians staying at home, lower online growth, lower petrol prices and good weather meant people were spending more. Preliminary reports on pre and post Christmas sales would seem to support that view.
One thing we have learned from recent retail experience is that any business predictions can come back to bite you, big time. So perhaps it is business as normal for market traders - in tough times you get your head down, tail up, watch the trends, stay flexible, negotiate hard, look for opportunities, do your best, and treat your customers very, very well.