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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A large tent has been put up around the area while investigations continue.
The kind gesture touched the hearts of many who shared and retweeted words of support for the officer on Twitter.
Two workers were forced into a back office as the robbers tried to force their way into a safe, police say.