Monday, 14 November 2011

Objective Proficiency p 45. High Street Discount Wars Begin on Biggest Retail Weekend. Extra Cloze

Some of the high street's biggest retailers have 1__________ earlier and more comprehensive December sales than ever before as they battle for trade 2________ this, the busiest shopping weekend of the year.
Tens of millions of people will visit the shops on Saturday and Sunday to buy their Christmas presents with store groups such as House of Fraser, Debenhams and French Connection already offering discounts of up to 50% 3_________ party dresses and key gifts such as makeup and perfume.
With consumers leaving their shopping later and later each year, the 4___________ are high for retailers, many of whom bank the lion's 5___________ of their profits at this time of year; this weekend Kent shopping centre Bluewater is predicting that 230,000 shoppers will come 6____________ its doors.
Independent retail analyst Nick Bubb said much of the discounting was planned by retailers 7________ advance but that some deals were more aggressive than last year, forcing rivals 8__________ retaliate.
With many households left struggling to make 9________ meet in the 10___________ of the recession, retailers have had to offer increasingly large, planned or 11____________, pre-Christmas discounts. With the exception 12_________ buoyant pockets such as the West End of London, industry data suggests that the crowds in shopping malls and on high streets around the country are smaller than last year 13___________ those fearful of overspending stay home or shop online to avoid impulse buys.
Some analysts argue that central London has become a shopping "bubble" 14____________ the crowds on major shopping arteries such as Oxford Street are spending as if it is pre-recession 2007.
"We think central London seems to be living 15___________ to its reputation as a 'bubble' largely insulated 16___________ the rest of the UK," said Capital Economics' Vicky Redwood, who also suggested that the weakness of the pound was attracting high-spending tourists to the city. "Anyone walking around central London would be forgiven 17__________ questioning whether the UK has actually been in a double-dip 18_____________. Shops are crowded and restaurants are fully 19___________," she said.
While mid-market chains such as Marks & Spencer have been squeezed as middle England battens down the 20__________, retailers serving the top and bottom ends have fared better.  Value retailers have benefited from customers trading 21________, while luxury retailers, which are concentrated in central London, have benefited 22___________ the spending power of their well-heeled clients being undiminished 23________ the financial crisis.
Last weekend retailers in the West End rang 24__________ £150m in a warm-up spending 25_________, with Fortnum & Mason reporting its biggest ever Saturday and Liberty also claiming 26__________ bumper weekend. Jace Tyrell, of the New West End Company, which represents shops in Bond Street, Oxford Street and Regent Street, predicted this weekend 27_________ be huge. "Hoteliers are telling us there are a lot of tourists in London, particularly from northern Europe, and they spend a bit more," said Tyrell.
Selfridges retail director Sue West said it was a polarised trading picture, 28__________ luxury brands such as Yves Saint Laurent, Alexander McQueen and Michael Kors and expensive gadgetry such as tablets and headphones 29__________ its bestsellers.
Other areas were more difficult to gauge 30_________ of the blizzard 31__________ discounting in rival stores.
Retail 32_____________ growth in the capital's shopping district has outstripped the rest of the country in recent months, with London retail sales for November up 2.3% on last year, while the national figure was up by just 0.4%. Shoppers are attracted to the West End by the festive atmosphere created by the Christmas 33___________ and the window extravaganzas of the major department stores, says Tyrell.
Harrods has 34_________ to town this year, enlisting an army of fairytale princesses, including Rapunzel, Snow White and Cinderella, clad 35_________ ballgowns from the 36__________ of Versace and Oscar de la Renta. "People have had five years of recession and want the feelgood 37_________," said Tyrell. "These stores have been doing Christmas for 100 years and there's been more investment 38________ everything from the in-store decorations to customer service experience and the quality of the windows."

Read the article on the Guardian website 

1. launched (launch something /lɔːntʃ/ to start an activity, especially an organized one. E.g. to launch an appeal/ an inquiry/ an investigation/ a campaign. To launch an attack/ invasion.)

2. over

3. on

4. stakes (stake: something that you risk losing, especially money, when you try to predict the result of a race, game, etc, or when you are involved in an activity that can succeed or fail. Sp. estar en juego. E.g. How much was the stake (= how much did you bet)? They were playing cards for high stakes (= a lot of money). With only two points separating the top five players, the stakes are high as they enter the final round (Sp. es mucho lo que está en juego)

5. share (the lion's share (of something) the largest or best part of something when it is divided.)
Bank something to put money into a bank account. E.g. She is believed to have banked (= been paid) £10 million in two years.

6. through 

7. in (in advance (of something) before the time that is expected; before something happens. E.g. a week/ month/ year in advance. The rent is due one month in advance. It's cheaper if you book the tickets in advance. People were evacuated from the coastal regions in advance of the hurricane.) 

8. to (force somebody/ yourself to do something to make somebody do something that they do not want to do. E.g. The President was forced to resign. I was forced to take a taxi because the last bus had left. She forced herself to be polite to them. Force somebody into doing something The President was forced into resigning.)
Retaliate: /rɪˈtælieɪt/ to do something harmful to somebody because they have harmed you first. Take revenge. E.g. to retaliate against an attack. The boy hit his sister, who retaliated by kicking him. 

9. ends (make (both) ends meet to earn just enough money to be able to buy the things you need. Sp. sobrevivir. E.g. Many families struggle to make ends meet.

10. aftermath /ˈɑːftəmæθ/ /ˈɑːftəmɑːθ/ the situation that exists as a result of an important (and usually unpleasant) event, especially a war, an accident, etc. E.g. A lot of rebuilding took place in the aftermath of the war. The assassination of the Prime Minister and its immediate aftermath.

11. otherwise (or otherwise used to refer to something that is different from or the opposite of what has just been mentioned. E.g. It was necessary to discover the truth or otherwise of these statements. We insure against all damage, accidental or otherwise.)

12. of 
Buoyant /ˈbɔɪənt/ tending to increase or stay at a high level, usually showing financial success. E.g. a buoyant economy/ market. Buoyant sales/ prices. A buoyant demand for homes.
Pocket: area 

13. as/ since 

14. where 

15. up (live up to something: to do as well as or be as good as other people expect you to. Sp. cumplir con las expectativas: E.g. He failed to live up to his parents' expectations. The team called ‘The No-Hopers’ certainly lived up to its name.)

16. from (insulated /ˈɪnsjuleɪtɪd/ protected with a material that prevents heat, sound, electricity, etc. from passing through. E.g. insulated wires. A well-insulated house.)

17. for

18. recession
Double-dip:  /ˌdʌb(ə)lˈdɪp/ denoting or relating to a recession during which a period of economic decline is followed by a brief period of growth, followed by a further period of decline. E.g. higher food and energy prices could increase the risk of a double-dip recession)

19. booked 

20. hatches (hatch: an opening or a door in the deck of a ship. Sp. trampilla, escotilla. 
Batten down the hatches to prepare yourself for a period of difficulty or trouble. E.g. A natural tendency in times of recession is to batten down the hatches and think about our own needs. 

21. down (trade down: to spend less money on things than you used to. E.g. Shoppers are trading down and looking for bargains.)
Value retailing: positioning a retail store as one in which consumers receive greater overall value-to-cost benefits (if not necessarily lower prices) than in competitors' stores.

22. from
Well heeled: having a lot of money

23. by 
Undiminished: /ˌʌndɪˈmɪnɪʃt/ that has not become smaller or weaker. Sp. sin disminuir. E.g. They continued with undiminished enthusiasm. Her influence in the company remained undiminished.

24. up (ring something up: to enter the cost of goods being bought in a shop/ store on a cash register by pressing the buttons; to make sales of a particular value. Sp. registrar, marcar. E.g. She rang up all the items on the till. The company rang up sales of $166 million last year.)

25. spree (/spriː/ a short period of time that you spend doing one particular activity that you enjoy, but often too much of it. E.g. a shopping/ spending spree. He's out on a spree.)

26. a
Bumper: /ˈbʌmpə(r)/ unusually large; producing an unusually large amount. E.g. a bumper issue (= of a magazine, etc.) a bumper crop/ harvest/ season/ year.

27. would

28. with (polarise /ˈpəʊləraɪz/ to separate or make people separate into two groups with completely opposite opinions. E.g. Public opinion has polarized on this issue. Polarize something The issue has polarized public opinion.)

29. among
Gadgetry: /ˈɡædʒɪtri/ a collection of modern tools and devices. E.g. His desk is covered with electronic gadgetry. Suburban schools gleam (shine) with modern gadgetry, while inner city schools lack basic textbooks.

30. because
gauge /ɡeɪdʒ/ to calculate something approximately. E.g. We were able to gauge the strength of the wind from the movement of the trees. It is impossible to gauge the extent of the damage.

31. of
Blizzard: a large quantity of things that may seem to be attacking you. E.g. a blizzard of documents.

32. sales
Outstrip: to become larger, more important, etc. than somebody/ something. E.g. Demand is outstripping supply.

33. lights  

34. gone (go to town (on something) to do something with a lot of energy, enthusiasm, etc, especially by spending a lot of money. E.g. They really went to town on the decorations for the party.)

35. in 
clad (in something) (often used after an adverb or in compounds) wearing a particular type of clothing.
Dressed. E.g. She was clad in blue velvet. Warmly/ scantily (very little) clad. Leather-clad motorcyclists
36. likes (the likes of somebody/ something used to refer to somebody/ something that is considered as a type, especially one that is considered as good as somebody/ something else. E.g. She didn't want to associate with the likes of me.) 
37. factor (the feel-good factor: the feeling of confidence in the future that is shared by many people. E.g. After the recession, people were waiting for the return of the feel-good factor before starting to spend money again.)
38.  in 

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