The value of retail sales only rose by 1.5 % over the Christmas period, which is under the rate of inflation. There's concern it could mean more businesses having to close in town centres like Dudley which already has many empty shops.
But Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire Chamber of Commerce says retailers are fighting back with innovative tactics to draw in customers.
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The East Coast rail line becomes privately run from today after more than five years in the public sector.
Very windy this evening with gales in some places. Rain moving east
Windy with heavy rain this evening, then gales and showers later on