Independent traders in Somerset have told ITV News that 2017 has been one of the most unpredictable years they've ever seen.
And this Christmas is no different. One shop owner in Taunton has blamed the uncertainty around Brexit for people not spending money. Catherine Esbester has been running Ginger Fig for ten years and she has never seen a situation like this.
Taunton Chamber of Commerce says as much is being done as possible to draw people in. Colin Barrell told ITV News, "If I speak to other traders in the town, especially in retail, we never know what's coming next week or the week after".
"We have things like our regular farmers market on a Thursday which is always a big draw for people. We've got a lot of local suppliers, very good quality products here every Thursday. In the lead-up to Christmas we have got late night shopping",
In contrast, Taunton's near neighbour Wellington has become a base for many independent retailers which are popular with shoppers.
- You can buy things that you can't get in mainstream shops
- There is no problem with returns as the shop is just down the road
- You're supporting local business
- It's good for local employment
- There's less carbon footprint
The owners of The Emporium Somerset, based in the town, are hoping to spread that attitude further with a new campaign.
The ambition for high street shopping in the coming years is high in many towns across the West Country. But for some retailers - the hope is simply for a strong Christmas…and more stability in 2018.