The poll of 100 retailers, carried out by The Knowledge Store during late April, shows that 33% of store owners are likely to adapt their ranges because of the worsening economic situation, with 15% saying that they will stock more value products and 10% opting for more pricemarked lines.
Six of the 100 retailers quizzed stated that they will aim to run more in-store promotions, while other traders are looking at smarter buying, including bulk purchases and alternative sources of supply, to keep costs down.
Overall, 85% of retailers expressed concern about the state of the UK economy, and 92% expected consumer spending to be squeezed this year. While most anticipate sales to be under pressure across all categories, tobacco, alcohol and luxury goods are expected to be hit hardest.
Nearly a quarter of independent retailers have put investment plans on hold because of the economic outlook, and a small but significant number - 6% - believe the credit crunch has affected the availability of funding for expansion plans.
Overall, however, trade confidence remains in the balance. Retailers who are either quite confident or very confident of growing their businesses this year make up 46% of our sample, with 54% either not very or not at all confident of increasing sales during the next 12 months.