We’re just about emerging from our Christmas slumber, induced by too many mince pies and one too many Sherries. But before we look ahead to what 2019 has in store, it’s always worth having a look back at what has been. 2018 was a mixed year to say the least. From Brexit chaos to discount retail, there’s been plenty to talk about. So top up your glass and enjoy our business review of the year just gone. Where better to start than with one of the world stage’s more colourful and larger-than-life characters, Donald Trump. It was his comments in October that caused stock markets to plummet. He described the Federal Reserve’s decision to increase interest rates as ‘crazy’, leading to a drop in global shares. On home shores, clearly concerned by the growing market shares for budget grocery stores such as Aldi and Lidl, Tescos entered the scene this year. The supermarket launched Jack’s, so called after the corporations co-founder, Jack Cohen. The overt British branding, complete with Union Jacks is not a response to Brexit, insists the retailer. Whilst the success of this endeavor has not been as sweeping as the European-style stores that it’s modeled on, perhaps 2019 could be a break through year. In March, as temperatures dropped unexpectedly, the national grid warned they might not have the gas resources to match the demand from customers; although they did encourage users to carry on as normal, instead allowing commercial users to bear the brunt of any shortages. Days after the announcement, prices rocketed to 200p per them, a rise of 74%. One thing that certainly wasn’t on the rise this year was the price of London property. Well, OK – some London property. Is it a symptom of Brexit or just a blip in the market? It would appear the bubble may be showing the first signs of some strain, if not yet bursting, as prices dropped by as much as 15% in some parts of the capital. In Wandsworth, the average price dipped by more than £100,000. Back to retailers now and specifically supermarket chain, Iceland. When we think of Christmas ads it’s normally Coca-Cola or John Lewis that springs to mind. But Iceland had their sites set on raising the bar as well as environmental awareness this year. That was, of course, before Clearcast (responsible for checking ads prior to broadcast) decided it breached rules on political broadcasts. The ad was a rebranded animated shorted originally created by Greenpeace showing the effects palm oil production has on the habitats of orangutans. Whilst it might not have made it as far as the TV screen, it’s fair to say awareness of the issue was most definitely raised. And sticking with a (not-so) Christmassy theme, the annual Black Friday sales continued to ‘break the internet’ this year. As shoppers sought to save ahead of the big day, retailers were only too happy to oblige by slashing the RRP on many of their products. Despite the hit they are forced to take on their margins. After a fairly subdued intro to the UK, one of America’s biggest exports is now truly taking grip of British high streets too. Closer to home, it’s been a great year here at Finnies Accountants. We wish all our clients, friends and family the best for 2019.