A few business folk have recently mentioned to me that they aren't turning over what they used to - there's not the enquiries there used to be, no-one's spending, etc.
I think that it's to do with a number of factors:
1. Lottery - this takes out a lot of money out of the total spendadble income of the country
2. House prices - more people are having to rent now, which is a drain and you end up with nothing to show for it, unlike a mortgage
3. Cost of living - petrol is one thing, but mobile phone credit, broadband, Sky subscription, insurance, big purchases like computers, digital cameras, cars, etc. - all add up for the montly household expenditure
4. Healthy / organic eating - one disadvantage over unhealthy food is that it's not cheap!
5. Tax increases - they don't help to make everyone feel flush and want to spend.
6. Charity fatigue - if it's not a tsunami, it's the starving - there's a lot of pleas for money, and a huge amount flew out of the country in January