However well their businesses have been doing, there’s one common thread that unites all the retailers reporting results today.

We’ve had a motley crew of retailers reporting results today, including the John Lewis Partnership, Kingfisher, Kesa and Dunelm, while we also revealed River Island’s results for last year, and there were unexpected management changes at both Dunelm and New Look.

John Lewis and Waitrose were predictably strong, while Kingfisher’s self-help initiatives meant a strong profit performance despite weaker sales trends. Kesa’s trading was better than I’d have expected, while Dunelm continues to be an outstanding performer despite operating in a tough market segment. Overall, a creditable set of performances from a diverse range of retailers.

What united all those retailers, plus others who’ve been reporting over the past few days, was they warned about how they anticipate the market will become more difficult over the months ahead. Their argument was lent strength by the weak ONS figures which came out this morning showing a fall in sales volumes in both food and non-food.

Now it’s never a great idea to place too much store by the ONS numbers, but as they have a habit of being revised downwards rather than upwards, then we can probably take it that August wasn’t very good. The general tone among the retailers has been that tougher times lie ahead

But - and there’s the important bit - they’re saying we’re not in for a double dip. And when you look at what’s happenned to retail stocks in recent months, that seems to have been what the City was expecting and pricing in.

There was a strong recovery in Next’s share price after Simon Wolfson’s comments yesterday because even though he remained cautious, he said a double dip was unlikely. You’ll remember his comments at Next’s previous update sparked hysteria both in the media and the City, but actually this results season seems to have produced a decent amout of consistency in retailers’ thinking - that trade is going to slow a bit, but it won’t be the end of the world.