Confidence amongst retailers about prospects for 2011 hit rock bottom at the end of last year, with fears over sales and profits in the coming months. The latest Business Confidence Monitor from ICAEW/Grant Thornton reveals only 37% of companies in the retail sector are more confident in the economic prospects facing their organisation over the next 12 months compared to the year before. This is in contrast to a national average of 46%. For 2011 retailers expect both sales and turnover growth to be below the national average, suggesting a tough year. Barry Knight, head of retail at Grant Thornton, said: "Given levels of economic growth seen over the last 12 months and looking at their bottom line, most retailers were probably positively surprised at how well business held up. The sector performed more resiliently than was feared and we didn't see the cuts in consumer spending feed through to the sector as much as anticipated, perhaps helped by low interest rates. "However, retailers' subdued expectations for the next 12 months are founded in some real concerns, mainly rises in VAT, falling house prices, spending cuts and rising commodity prices.”