Are things really so bad for off-licences?

I'm starting to wonder if off-licensees shouldn't be thanking the Chancellor, Alistair Darling for his contribution to the nation's growing lament about the alleged approaching recession.

After all, it seems to be doing our business a bit of a favour if you look at some of the headlines in OLN recently.

Last week it reported that wine merchants are experiencing rocketing sales (Aug 22).

And how bad can it be if someone's finally happy to step in and give Oddbins a new lease of life at the very time when, if the

chancellor is to be believed, it should be going down the pan once and for all?

Obviously no one wants a recession, but is it really going to be all that bad? People are still spending on luxuries and wanting something that will cheer them up a bit among all this talk of credit crunching. Something to put a bit of a shine on the fact that the summer's over and we haven't even had one.

A nice glass of wine or a pint of beer has always been synonymous with helping to lift the spirits and that doesn't seem to have changed over the years.

Sure not everyone's doing OK - but even though Cains has sadly gone into administration, it still seems there are plenty of investors willing to take a chance on it (Aug 22).

Clearly no one's giving up the industry. Let's raise a glass to that and remember how much cheer we can spread when the going gets tough.

Harry Fonsella, by email