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The good news, the bad news and the whole news

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25 May 2010

The good news, the bad news and the whole news

Good news, for some... It would seem that Marks and Spencer have announced profits today of £632.5m for the last financial year. Chairman, Sir Stuart Rose has suggested that the UK has now come through the worst of the recession. In so many ways I would agree that it does sound like that especially with such profits being stated in the press. The bad news, for some.... However, the bigger picture is that those profits have been achieved by squeezing the suppliers. Major retailers such as M & S, Next (reporting 18% increase in profit), Sainsburys (who recently boasted a 17% hike in profits), Tesco's (who reported record profits)  and others have been able to dictate prices to suppliers for a long time and the recession has certainly allowed them to hold all the power. As the CEO of a manufacturing SME in the Midlands during the worse of the recession we supplied shopfittings to the retail, leisure and construction sectors and I know first hand how these big players had no regard for the backbone of the UK. We were crippled - the phone's stopped ringing in October 2008. The sad news... My family's 106 year old business had no choice but to enter administration in March 2009 and I still wonder about all the other victims that have fallen by the wayside as a result of the recession - and in particular as a result of big retailers and car manufacturers ensuring they survived regardless. Of course as a businesswoman I understand the cut throat decisions that have to be made at times - that's the duty of the directors but I just hope we realise that the headlines have a great deal more behind them and that the ongoing impact of the recession will cascade for months if not longer. What about the third sector and so many others? The horizon in the UK is radically different now and we have a pool of highly skilled executives that have been thrown into the pot, professionals that have left or been discarded and it will be an interesting two years - of course we also have the new Government and faster moving technology... so interesting times ahead and they'll be nothing like we have known before. Having said all that, I still believe that we have a world of opportunities at our disposal and it's time to seize them!