It’s a very midsummer madness. Right now all thoughts are with sun, sand, picnics, holidays, and the welcome impact of a heatwave. But in retail, July also means Christmas – the golden quarter – is just around the corner.

So, what will the ‘Festive’ Season be like this year? Let’s put it this way: I wouldn’t want to be order forecasting. Will this be the first true credit crunch Christmas? Some suggest last time round was just a rehearsal for the main event, a last hurrah before we hunkered down for nuclear winter. 

In the event, the last few months have been OK. One could never describe them as benign, but neither have they been apocalyptic. There have been some insolvencies, and it’s tough, but as we’ve oft observed, at least we’re not estate agents or tour operators or car sales reps.

Here’s the catch, however. This Christmas, three key planks in the government’s emergency response to the economic meltdown are set to expire. And they will do so on 31 December, ie at the back end of the busiest, most important and most demanding trading period in the entire calendar. Sir Stuart Rose has already declared the timing of the VAT hike “insane”. But the calendar crunch is worse, because it is so much more far-reaching. The extra duty hike will cause untold damage to the already beleaguered wine trade. And the 31 December expiration of the government’s trade credit insurance provisions when the demands on cashflow are at their highest couldn’t come at a worse time.

That’s why this week The Grocer is launching a new editorial campaign called Push Back the Tax, calling on the government to delay, freeze and extend key measures. We hope to use our name and our methods and our unique position in the market to get results. But most of all, we need you and your support. So read, sign up and get in touch.