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What's Your Bell-weather?

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Recently someone posted that they like to use restaurants as their bell-weather to get a true picture of the state of their local economy. When they pass by restaurants , they take a peek through the window to see if it is busy.

Apparently in times of financial hardship, eating out is one of the first things people cut back on to economise, so if restraurants start to look empty, they know there is trouble ahead.

I think it is a good one. How are restaurants doing in your area?

What other bell-weathers, if any, do you use? What are they telling you?

After reading the post on restaurants, I decided to have a look at what my bell weather could be.

I decided to use my Saturday job.

I currently work Saturdays in a middle-market Maternitywear shop.

I have worked in a maternitywear shop before, in central London in 1988, on a 1 year student placement. The clients were really wealthy, one of our services was to custom make suits for lawyers.

It was a really interesting year for me, as it was the start of the 90's recession. When I started working there, sales were £3000 a week. Within a year, they had gone down to £300 a week. Needless to say they eventually closed.

I have worked in my current Saturday job for over a year and really enjoy it.

Last year, sales were really good, particularly through the summer. However, I started to notice a change around Christmas - sales of party / black tie dresses were well down on the previous year, a time when people seemed to have plenty of money to splash around.

Last week was quiet and yesterday (Saturday) was our worst day ever, with sales only 25% of the usual.

Maybe it was because it was bitterly cold, but alarm bells are starting to sound.

I am curious to see what sales in March & April are going to be like.

Statistically, more people are born in September than in any other month - apparently a result of cold winter nights when people go to bed early and/or getting drunk and carried away over the festive season :)

Many women tend to need maternitywear around 3 months into their pregnancy, so March and April are usually busy months with lots of sales.

From my previous experience of the recession in the late 80's/early 90's, I think it is a good early warning system for a forthcoming recession. Sales dropped dramatically and quickly.

If people's financial situation starts to tighten, they often put off having babies until later, or if they find themselves pregnant and moneys tight, they find cheaper forms of maternitywear, such as borrowing their husbands shirts and buying cheap track-suit bottoms.

I think its an interesting bell-weather.

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Went to a popular Italian restaurant on Thursday evening around 7:30pm, it was totally empty, with only us in there.

Ordered starter and main courses, starter great, then the waitress came back and said the pasta is off , we've run out.

An italian restaurant and no pasta, no people in either ...... Make your own assumptions

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Wobbles:

When I can walk into a trendy hairdresser on two saturdays 6 weeks apart and get a hair cut straight away both times.

When the media start discounting all the indicators of trouble (if they are few and far between they don't bother to talk about it at all)

Really Bad:

When Notting Hill gets a trendy soup kitchen! (where not there yet, but mark my words B) )

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I suppose I partly use my own life as a measure of the economy.

Here's a list of points from the last year of my life...

Consciously using the central heating as little as possble.

Consciously turning lights off when I'm not in a room.

Only ate out once in a whole year.

Didn't go on holiday.

Have asked for essentials for my birthday/christmas instead of indulgencies.

Switched to supermarket's own brand products.

Stocked up on things I needed when they were on offer.

Hardly went to the pub - less than ten times in a whole year.

Accepted dinner invitations from friends/family, but only when the saving in food costs was more than the cost in petrol of going there.

I could go on.

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Recently someone posted that they like to use restaurants as their bell-weather to get a true picture of the state of their local economy. When they pass by restaurants , they take a peek through the window to see if it is busy.

...

I think its an interesting bell-weather.

Thats an interesting one. Who about the number of cars you see with A4 scribled 'For Sale - please call 0778 ...'

Where did the name bell weather originate anyways?

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When companies are striving to cut costs or are on productivity improvement drives then I see it as a bad sign that the economy is going to tank.

When companies are spending on investment to expand or train staff then I see it as a good sign that the economy will improve.

At the moment I feel the current trend of employers is to cut costs in this country.

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Who about the number of cars you see with A4 scribled 'For Sale - please call 0778 ...'

Cars is a good one. As an enthusiast of exotic cars, though sadly not an owner, I keep a close track on the exotic car market and have noticed an interesting development starting to take place recently.

A few years ago, as we all know, interest rates were rock bottom and many people borrowed silly multiples to be able to buy much larger houses than would have been possible before, or remortgaged to have big extensions on their homes, or to fulfil the ultimate dream of owning a car such as a Ferrari. Far from desirable houses were suddenly worth desirable house money and this opened the flood gates for the un-wealthy to start borrowing cheap money to buy exotic cars. In recent times however I have noticed an increasing number of Ferraris for sale in Top Marques magazine and on the Auto Trader web site, and eBay, with photos clearly showing that these cars are located in far les than solubrious neighbourhoods. Clearly the ownership of rich people's cars, by those who are far less than rich, is starting to catch up with them as soaring living costs and the end of cheap mortgage deals starts to bite.

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Agreed Bingley.

Not quite supercar territory, I'd look for the aspirational sportscar owner.

My choice would be the Audi TT or S3, that 4WD Golf, or something along those lines. Just about within reach of the masses, but 'ouch' servicing costs, tyre, fuel and service hungry, and attracts supermarket trolley dents like nobody's business.

btp

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What other bell-weathers, if any, do you use? What are they telling you?

The amount of growing bulls here that say, it’s not going down in my part of the world… honestly…

no way will there ever be a crash… no sirree… not a chance…

Never… never… never… do-you-hear-me… I mean it… it can’t happen…

Blair won’t let it happen… the economy’s doing just great…

house prices will always go up… you’re all just missed-the-boaters….

And you’re jealous cos I got a couple of buy-to-lets on the go….

PLEASE DON’T LET IT HAPPEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :ph34r:

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local 'fancy' restaurant closed down few weeks ago in south lincs market town. said that covers were being filled quite well BUT punters not paying enough to do more than break-even - so shutters down.

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Recently someone posted that they like to use restaurants as their bell-weather to get a true picture of the state of their local economy. When they pass by restaurants , they take a peek through the window to see if it is busy.

I use Kirstie and Phil's comments on Location, Location as my bell-weather. They seem to think everything is OK - so it must be. :D

Nomadd

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Package holidays.

We are now into the traditional holiday booking season.

If I start to see a price war starting between holiday companies then it tells me people are not comitting to holdiays in the near furture.

Watch oout for 'no deposit' 'book now pay later' type deals.

I am not talking luxery holidays - I mean the 2 weeks in Tenerifeeee during the school holidays type.

Also if we have a sudden sell off of unsold ski holdiays in a month or so.

Interestingly one of my local travel agents has just been caught by trading standards for advertising cheap holdiays in their window that don't exist.

I have to say I haven't seen any cut price holdiay adverts on the TV recently but then again the only adverts on TV at the moment are for loans and CC's

ALSO

Growth in Avon, Ann Summers Parties etc. When incomes are strapped sometimes the only way to boost the household income is to take on part time work.

Edited by 2005

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Myself and the wife went out today for lunch and we fancied trying the sunday buffet at one of the four indian restraunts round our way. After an hour of walking around it became clear that nowhere was open except bloody McDonalds. Last year everywhere was open on a sunday afternoon - it was quite weird.

However this was nothing compared to the shock I got when she annouced 'there's a big recession on the way I think'. I said 'nah!! it would be on the news' just to test her - I got the response I was looking for ' Everybody would panic and the country would be in the sh*t'.

However, she still wants to buy a house :blink:

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My local backstreet mechanic has more work on his hands than he knows what to do with - in boom times everyone goes to main dealers with their shiny new cars. In bad times, they go to people like him.

MFI, B&Q, etc, in trouble - as during the last crash.

IT contractor market booms - companies take on IT contractors rather than permanent staff.

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My local backstreet mechanic has more work on his hands than he knows what to do with - in boom times everyone goes to main dealers with their shiny new cars. In bad times, they go to people like him.

Yeah, I read a while back that Bon Marche were doing well as people traded down from Next and such like.

Does anyone know what's happened to Mappin & Webb, a very expensive looking jeweller's in Leeds? I was strolling past on Saturday morning and there's was nothing in the little display windows and the shutters were down where the doors are.

Edited by Bingley Bloke

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Top thread!

We've had:

- Materinity-wear sales

- Indian/Italian restaurants

- Hairdressers

- Car/motorbile sales

- Motorbikes

- Package holidays

and others, all generally good signs of how much discretionary cash is sloshing around.

I think my own bellwether would have to be some bizarre indicator like how many people go out for an after-work drink on the 3rd friday of the every month.

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Package holidays.

I wouldn't read too much into the decline of the high street travel agent. They are already under attack from the internet competition and all the rentals and permanent staff salaries are a big overhead.

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  • 301 Brexit, House prices and Summer 2020

    1. 1. Including the effects Brexit, where do you think average UK house prices will be relative to now in June 2020?


      • down 5% +
      • down 2.5%
      • Even
      • up 2.5%
      • up 5%



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