A good splurge

Posted: August 10, 2009

Which of the following – chocolate, the music of Barry White, oysters, garlic or shopping – do you think is the odd one out? If you spotted that the connection is their aphrodisiac qualities, you might well have said shopping, but it’s actually chocolate; although the brown and sticky substance has become synonymous with the making of lurve, there is actually very little scientific evidence to support suggestions that it increases sexual desire.

But a new survey of over 2,000 British women has revealed that 86% of them feel happier after a good splurge in the shops, 46% said they felt more attractive and a whopping 38% said that they are more likely to have sex with their partner afterwards.

The study of 2,062 women ages between 18 and 35 was commissioned by celebrity fashion website www.MyCelebrityFashion.co.uk, and snippets like this are ideal hooks for retailers to hang a ‘do more shopping – it’s good for you’ advertising campaign on. This particular one may be considered a little risqué for mainstream retailers but it’s perfect for those operating in the adult sector, especially if they tailor their wording according to whether it’s men or women they are looking to target.

Perhaps it’s best not to mention that 61% of women in the same survey said they felt guilty after shopping, however…

Talking of surveys, the results of the Quarter 2 2009 British Chambers of Commerce Economic Survey suggest – whisper it – that the worst of the recession could be over. Data from 5,600 companies showed ‘welcome progress’ in both the manufacturing and service sectors, with most key indicators improving in the last quarter, and a marked increase in confidence following sharp declines in the previous two quarters.

David Kern, Chief Economist at the British Chambers of Commerce, commented: “The pace of decline in the UK economy is clearly moderating. The worst phase of the recession is over, but serious downward pressures persist across all sectors and regions… Recovery is now possible but it is not yet secure. Further corrective measures are still needed to support the economy. The marked improvement in confidence, albeit from exceptionally low levels, is welcome.”

Despite the positives in the survey, the BCC urged the Government to do a lot more for British business, and urged it to think long and hard about its policies on taxation.

To be fair though, those incredibly sober ladies and gentlemen who collect business taxes have introduced a new word into their vocabulary this year – flexibility. The recession has brought to an end the days when inspectors from HM Revenue & Customs could justify closing down a company for late payment of VAT (think how that would play in the Daily Mail now) and, as a very informative feature inside the August issue of ETO explains, the Revenue is far more amenable to requests to pay tax liabilities over a period of time than it ever has been before.

Indeed, since this new policy was adopted, over 23,500 arrangements have been agreed in the retail sector alone, totalling £347m. And overall, 157,000 ‘time to pay’ arrangements had been made with the Revenue up until 28th June 2009, totalling over £2.7bn. And why the heck not? Why pay everything when it is due if a simple phone call can mean the money can be put to better use? Sure, a small amount of interest is added to the sum outstanding, but interest rates are currently at their lowest ever. Best of all, we’re assured that businesses requesting the ‘time to pay’ option do not get penalised, black-marked or otherwise flagged up in any way. As one person explained it to me, it’s as good as getting cash in the bank…