Making sense of the past seven days
It was supposed to be the day when we got a real indication of the health of UK retailing. So, what did we learn from Super Wednesday?

Not much that was new is the honest answer. But what the flurry of activity on Wednesday did do was confirm some of the longstanding trends in the sector, which, if anything, appear to be accelerating.

Most clearly, it showed that retailers that are doing well - namely Sainsbury's - are doing better all the time, while those that are struggling - like Next - are finding it harder. Those with diverse international operations - such as DSGi - have some good and bad performing parts of the portfolio, which are cancelling each other out.

This polarisation is becoming increasingly marked, but is no great surprise. Successful businesses build momentum, while turning round underperformers is like the proverbial oil tanker - it takes time.

If we were to go back three years, we would find that the retailers that were having a bad time then, like Sainsbury's and Marks & Spencer, are the ones that are now in recovery mode. But Sainsbury's chief executive Justin King's sales-led recovery is delivering improved profits too, so while there is still much more to be done, the corner has well and truly been turned.

But while it is reasonable for management teams to expect time to turn things around, Next needs to demonstrate that the initiatives it is undertaking are delivering results. Chief executive Simon Wolfson has been frank in admitting the shortcomings of the stores and the collections, but his efforts to date to put things right have not worked. The latest version of store refurbishments needs to deliver results.

As for DSGi, the past few months haven't been much fun for chief executive John Clare. Being a pioneer multichannel and international retailer has brought plaudits for Clare, but there is a huge challenge in keeping all the balls in the air.

So no firm conclusions from Super Wednesday. Consumer confidence remains fragile and life isn't going to be easy for retailers for the rest of the year. But the clearest sign is that the strongest retailers will continue to make life harder for the rest.