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YORKSHIRE’S lack of consumer confidence is illustrated by the frantic nature in which shops have been trying to talk up their prospects this Christmas.

If you believe them, today will be their busiest day of the year – and hold the key to whether they break even or have to take the difficult decision to close some stores in the New Year.

But they said that last Saturday and, again, on the first Saturday of the month when the countdown to Christmas began to earnest.

And it is almost certain that similar sentiments will be expressed on Boxing Day when the last leg of the January sales, which seem to now begin in early November, begin.

Yet, while the advent of a new consumer-savvy generation is attributable to the retail industry’s difficulties as they wait for bargains, or shop online, the more pertinent trend is the decision by families across the region not to spend beyond their means because tough times undoubtedly await the country in 2012.

For they have learned, some painfully, that they cannot continue spending money that they can ill-afford as Britain’s age of austerity shows few signs of ending.