It’s that time of year when you can confidently forecast that there will be numerous predictions for the coming year from numerous “experts”. So here are our “non-expert” forecasts for 2009.
January - More retailers go into administration, most, including MFI are sold on in “pre-pack deals” to managements and/or previous owners convinced that if you keep on doing what you have always done it will eventually work.
M&S revises Christmas sales figures downwards. This is due to record returns by women of unsuitable lingerie bought as Christmas presents by their male partners hoping to be cheered up. M&S share price plummets.
February - MFI goes into administration again due to new owners being unable to follow the instructions in the “prepack” deal.
Gordon Brown confident “that the British people will overcome the challenges of the current economic difficulties – which started in America”. British people think “no mate that’s your job”.
March - Bank of England having already reduced interest rates to zero, tries “buy one get one free” offer on any loan to anyone for any purpose. Appears to work at first, then Carcraft runs out of stock.
M&S announce surprise increase in sales. Share price soars.
April – Public sector construction projects announced in January to create 100,000 jobs appear to be working as 50,000 new staff are recruited for planning departments, public inquires etc.
M&S revise sales figures down as most were again items of lingerie, bought as Easter presents by men still hoping this would lead to them being cheered up. M&S shares plummet.
May - Pound reaches parity with Matebele Gumbean. UK tourist board reports record bookings at UK holiday destinations. The only vacancies left for the school holidays are at a caravan site near West Hartlepool and they are selling fast. Travel firms cut overseas holiday capacity to just one hotel in Iceland.
Government announces new initiative to kick start the economy involving sale and lease back of all government buildings and investing the proceeds in refinancing the banks (yes, again!). The deal is done with a Middle East financial consortium called The Arab Lending & Investment Bank, known as TALIBank.
June - Alistair Darling apologises for Treasury inadvertently including Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle, Sandringham and Balmoral in the sale and leaseback deal. “I apologise most sincerely that the Queen no longer has anywhere to live. On the upside we would never have raised the amount we did without these buildings being included. They are about the only ones left that have any real value”.
Bank of England now employing SAS to break into banks at night and stuff more cash into their vaults to try and get lending moving. This is known as "quantitative easing".
July - Banks still not lending. Begins to dawn on Mervyn King that they have actually forgotten how to, as they have all focused solely on rebuilding their balance sheets in order to get free of government control. BoE sets up special task force to scour the nation’s golf courses to find retired bank managers who remember how to lend. This fails as few would admit they had worked for a bank, (“we were only following orders”) apart from Fred Goodwin, but he could only remember how to borrow.
Holiday season starts and right on cue the heavens open with record rainfall in all UK tourist destinations. “This is what Woolworths was for, somewhere to go on a wet afternoon in West Hartlepool” summed up the feelings of holiday makers.
August - Gordon Brown confident “that the British people will overcome the challenges of the current adverse weather – which started in America”. British people think “no mate, but we know where we are going next year for our holidays”. (See December)
Oil drops below $2 a barrel. OPEC, having already reduced production levels to zero, starts giving away top spec Range Rovers with every 10 gallons of petrol to boost demand.
September - First signs of recovery, Jaguar/Landrover start recruiting, MFI is relaunched. “This time our business plan has the top clearly labelled” said a management spokesman.
Public sector construction projects still stalled. Government sets up urgent inquiry to report by 2012 and recruits 25,000 people for new task force to tackle delays in the planning system. Only 25,000 new jobs to go now and without even starting a single project!
October - Governments around the world take co-ordinated action to restructure the world’s economy, involving a wave of company mergers and takeovers. However a proposal to merge French Connection with the band Take That is blocked on the grounds that they have already been getting away with FCUK for far too long.
First public sector construction project is announced, new offices for Planning Delays Task Force.
November - Banks still not lending. BoE tries new approach involving paying obscene levels of bonuses to bankers who lend money. Within days, credit markets unfreeze and economic growth resumes.
House prices recover, fifteen shopping mall projects started and 125% mortgages reintroduced. “Job done “says Gordon Brown. “No mate, but you are” says British public.
December - Record pre-Christmas retail sales fuelled by easy credit and hordes of Matebele tourists (pound now worth 0.5 of a Matabele Gumbean), with M&S reporting a big rise. M&S shares plummet.
In spite of the further falls in the pound travel industry reports massive excess of demand over supply for overseas holidays in the sun by families washed out of their UK holidays in 2009. (Hotel in Iceland withdrawn due to lack of interest).
Seriously though …Whilst these predictions are entirely fanciful we would not be surprised if some turn out to be correct. Current experience should tell us that even the most far fetched possibilities can become a reality. In spite of this most of us run our lives, our businesses and even our governments on the basis that there won’t be any surprises. Quote from Woody Allen “God’s idea of a joke is watching humans make plans for the future”.
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