I don't think anyone in the industry is kidding themselves as to the challenges retailers have faced in 2010.
Every interview I've conducted of late starts with a dour acknowledgement of the pressures in the market.
So I'm sure everyone appreciates the fears mounting at every level over January's VAT hike.
Unfortunately, retailers can't have their cake and eat it.
As one of those very interview subjects (anonymously, mind) says on the cover – they can't be crying foul over supposed silence around the VAT rise, when a large chunk didn't pass saving on when VAT was temporarily cut.
Yes, the 20 per cent rise is permanent – but that calls for retailers and publishers to thrash out a likewise long-term permanent solution, not assume the worst.