Only 7 shopping days left!
I’m done already and I think Tina is done too. Perhaps a few more deliveries will come in from cyber-space but, hopefully, I’ve seen my last mall for the month. Sales seem to be everywhere but that’s normal, I suppose. I got a very interesting comment from someone who works at the Izod store in Orlando, at the Premier Outlet Mall:
Black Friday was terrible and since is not much better. As of yesterday almost the entire store is 75% off. The manager said "the mall was packed, but the purchases were all at Coach."
I’ve been seeing that in North New Jersey, where I live – busy luxury spending by the top 10% but not so much from the bottom 90%. We’ll see if the Obama tax cut sends them running to the stores with their extra $613 but, at $3 a gallon, I’m thinking they’ll more likely opt to pay the heating bill as heating oil is up 40% this year too.
In my own shopping experiences, I have yet to wait on a long line for anything, even at the AAPL store – which was, by far, the most crowded place I shopped all month. I have noticed a decline in gift baskets and cards that I usually get from business associates around this time of year – that’s an indication to me that times are pretty tough – that’s something I’d be curious to hear about if others are seeing the same thing.
I’d also like to hear more from people who own stores. According to the National Retail Association, most shoppers are only half done with Christmas shopping. That sounds like a crock to me as Friday is Christmas so it seems more like optimism in the face of bad numbers than normal holiday shopping trends. The Retail stores are open all kinds of crazy hours this weekend so staffing costs will be high and I do hope it works out for them, for all our sakes!
It’s very hard to get a good read from the news because they are paid by retail advertisers to encourage you to shop so they’re not going to interview a store owner who says "This is the worst holiday ever, I’m thinking of setting fire to the store for the insurance money." No, all you hear is the good stuff but we need to know what’s real so we can make good investing decisions so if you are in retail, or know anyone in retail – please help us out and let’s try to get some good numbers (comparisons to last year and "normal" years, etc.) in our last week of shopping.
If you are out shopping, all you have to do is keep your eyes open when you go to the stores, not just as to whether they are busy but as to whether people are actually buying thing and what kind of things they are buying – then just tell us what you saw.
Obviously, we care the most about stores we can invest in but general observations are good too. This is going to be make or break for the holidays but I think a lot of high expectations are already built in and this survey is a great way for us to gian insight as to what’s hot and what’s not around the country.
Try to include the symbols for the companies you discuss and be sure to give us a good idea, geographically of where you are shopping. Last year we got a great picture of what was going on in the country and it kept us from falling for the media hype about holiday shopping last year.
Only by comparing many people’s experiences can we begin to get a good picture of the retail situation in this country, Thanks!