Interest Rates Hit British Retailing

Figures out this month show families are avoiding big ticket retail items and experts point to higher mortgage rates for the cautious spending

The era of spend, spend, spend is coming to an end. Britain's shoppers, who for years have been racking up debt on credit cards and home loans with abandon, are finally starting to cut back on their expenditure. A slew of economic and retailing figures this month suggests that families struggling to pay higher mortgage payments are becoming more cautious about the property market and shying away from "big ticket" purchases such as sofas and televisions. In the past few days, some of country's leading store chains, from French Connection to Next, have warned of tougher times to come for the high street, wiping millions off City forecasts. And the retail industry is already predicting that Christmas will be a wash-out.

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