It was a pretty gloomy festive season for many high street shops. Retail figures released today show only a 1.5% rise in sales in the run-up to Christmas, which is under the rate of inflation.
Last year Dudley had one of the highest number of empty shops in the country, but the Chamber of Commerce says retailers are now fighting back.
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Ahead of the conference, calls are growing for Midlands regions to have their own devolved powers to match those on offer to Scotland.
After a cool start, Sunday looks set to be a dry and bright day, with sunny spells.
Mainly dry with clear spells but possibly one or two light showers near coasts overnight, remaining largely dry on Sunday.