Yesterday's interest rate cut was welcomed by retailers and consumers alike and comes as the industry faces another anxious Christmas trading period. Last year's jitters, in the end, turned out to be sighs of relief as sales figures ended up being surprisingly positive. This year however, Experian footfall figures for November show shopper numbers on the high street, reflecting the start of the Christmas rush, down 2.9% on 2006, indicating the seasonal boost is later than expected. This tallies with ONS figures for October showing a 0.1% slide in sales. The cut in interest rates should make shoppers loosen their purse strings a little more, but a combination of early discounting and the the low rate of inflation once food prices are discounted (electrical goods, a major investment at Christmas, are barely registering a 1% rate) plus a disappointing first weekend in December means that the industry will struggle to show satisfactory year-on-year growth.