No shop shock: Little wonder we are not spending

Anyone who thought the Olympics would combine with warm weather to get us dipping into our pockets should get an award for foolish optimism. Families remain marooned in a three-way financial hurricane - rising prices for essentials like fuel; low wage settlements and deplorable job insecurity. Today's new figures from the British Retail Consortium only reflect what every family already knows. Shops can never do better financially than shoppers - and shoppers are feeling the crunch.

Walk on by, during August we were too busy watching the Olympics to shop Credit: Atish Patel/PA Wire

Even online sales growth has slowed to a trickle, the number of empty shops has grown yet again - and to add to the retail gloom people held off buying the new fashion lines.

August was just plain odd in shopping terms - a unique blend of one-off sport and changeable weather. The much more significant period starts this week - as shops start their big run-up to Christmas. They hope we are saving to splash out. Many believe they are in for another big disappointment