Retailers have been having a torrid time - and it's not over yet
Consumer spending dominates economic activity. 'Private consumption', as it is known in economics jargon, accounts for more than two thirds of GDP in most economies - far bigger than government consumption or investment, the other two main components of domestic demand.
How consumers choose to spend their money matters a lot. Not only does the amount people spend have a huge impact on local economies, who they give their custom to also matters.
But as with many industries, technological change is shaking up the sector. Online retailing is heralding some of the biggest changes. Some parts of the industry are being more disrupted than others.