The chief executives of Debenhams, New Look and Kingfisher have all predicted that the UK will not suffer from a double dip recession.

Speaking on the opening day of the Retail Week Conference, the three all said that the UK economy would skirt another serious contraction in the economy, but that trading would be tough for retailers this year.

Rob Templeman, Debenhams CEO, said that trading conditions would require retailers to manage their businesses differently. For clothing retailers particularly, there will be a need to manage inflation and margins.

Kingfisher group chief executive Ian Cheshire added his backing to this prediction, saying that he expects the odd poor quarter in near future, as was seen with the snow in Q4 2010.

And New Look’s chief executive Carl McPhail said that he expects 2011 to be challenging, with continued economic uncertainty driving consumer behaviour. He said that the poor footfall seen since Christmas 2010 is indicative of this.

However, all three gave reasons for hope, with international, multichannel and product innovation hotspots in the industry.