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PSW 2012 Holiday Shopping Survey

Please take the time to participate in our 2012 PSW Holiday Shopping Survey

Last year we were able to accurately predict what turned out to be disappointing retail sales from our observations – we have a lot of very sharp people with a wealth of experience to draw on and I urge you to read last year’s post and comments to get an idea of what we’re looking for. 

Just 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 things 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 we think a lot of high expectations are already built in and this survey is a great way for us to gain 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!

Disclosure: We will probably buy something AAPL is selling this season!

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Comments (reverse order)

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  1. AAPL – Ipad Mini seems to be sold out both in NYC and Milwaukee.  Not sure about other markets.

  2. bby was busy saturday with plenty of people spending big $$ in northern michigan.

  3. Limited Brands (LTD) – went to Victoria's Secret huge store on 34th street/herald square in NYC tonight and it was very busy.  saw lots of bags from other stores there too, including one European guy with like 10 bags lined up on the floor from Macy's lol.  prob a Russian billionaire.  While my date tried on stuff, I spoke to staff who said business was good this wkend but not as crazy as black friday.  It was hard for the staff to comp to last year since store was remodeled and enlarged this year.  It's an impressive 3 story store with lots of video screens and well decorated rooms.  herald square and korea town seemed very busy for a rainy sunday night.  

  4. BBY packed in Santa Cruz Ca.  No iPad minis left in stock.
    Ref: APPL, this year I'm getting an iPad mini and two Macbook Airs.
    In general the shops all seem pretty busy to me.

  5. I hit the Willowbrook Mall in Wayne, NJ yesterday and people were pretty actively shopping with 1 in 3 about carrying bags.  Last week, at the Garden State Plaza in Paramus, NJ – that was not the case at all as very few people were actually buying things.  Most stores had pretty generous sales but not the AAPL store, which was packed.  

    I should mention that last week, I was in a Tesla store in Garden State and that was really impressive.  They are back-ordered for 6-9 months on the $85,000 Model S but man is that thing gorgeous!  The store was very nicely done and salespeople were very informative and demonstrations were great – they had the car pulled apart and you could touch everything, really impressive.  

    Not to go back to AAPL constantly but other phone stores (T, VZ, S…) were all there and all of them combined didn't have 1/4 of the crowd at the AAPL store.  That's why the China news didn't surprise me – it's only surprising when we get the false (so far) reports that AAPL is having trouble selling stuff.  

    The Gap (GPS) was very busy and ANF was busy but we didn't go into too many stores.  CAKE had a great brunch and was very busy and BBW was surprisingly still busy.  I suppose as my kids got too old for it, it's been out of sight and out of mind but I noticed they were packed yesterday, which is surprising as they had such horrible numbers recently.

    On the whole, it looked like pretty normal Christmas shopping with another weekend to go – the key will be whether or not the pace picks up next week. 

  6. Phil/Model S – Help bring the future forward by ordering one like I did!  What pushed me over was reading about the supercharger network that is being installed where you can recharge 150 miles of range in 30 minutes from solar energy.  The plan is to have 90% of the US covered with this supercharger network (which is free) in three years.  Right now, they have installed superchargers in California so that I can drive from Vegas to San Diego and up the coast to wine country and back for free.   The Jan 1 price increase will also help maintain resale value on orders placed this year.  And hopefully my TSLA 2014 23 Calls will pay for most of the car (already up 20%).   My version of

  7. In NYC last week.  Bloomingdales stuffed with shoppers, lots of sales going on, which seemed precautionary on Bloomies' part, and it was apparently working — very hard to find shopping help.   Downtown, also lots of sales, and lots of shoppers – American Eagle, Zara's, all the mass market clothing shops, all with substantial markdowns, weeks before Christmas.  It probably adds up to good sales volume, anemic profits.

  8. Even the Metropolitan Museum shop had substantial markdowns on jewelry, expensive and costume, which I'd not seen before.

  9. The upscale mall in Durham, NC has been very full the entire season.  Parking has been markedly more difficult and the crowds much larger since Thanksgiving, even on off times during the week.  We have had a warm Dec here, and part of the mall is outdoors, so that is probably helping foot traffic.  I would estimate 1/3 to 1/2 had a bag with them.

  10. In north Atlanta malls (mdle cl where most retail commerce takes place) seemed to be more idle clerks and more parking spots than last year. Even upr end stores (Neiman) seemed a tad slower. Traffic on highways however seemed just as congested.

  11. I suppose we are adding to the trend of late shopping, having bought nothing so far except for out of towners, even my daughter remarked that we usually have stuff under the tree by now. Will be dealing with the madness this weekend.

  12. In SE Idaho, the only place I have been, Black Friday was the slowest I have ever seen and since then discount after discout is doing nothing. Skiing brings busy eateries and gas is moving at $3.25 per gallon, diesel trucks are still hidden at $3.94. about average mid Jan to mid Feb. Things are stacked up out side without room, never seen before!

  13. Apple (AAPL) / Stamford CT mall store – was jam packed today at lunch.  every red shirted staff member was taken.  I had to wait in line for itunes gift card.  a Russian man in front of me paid $500 cash for Ipad.  Capital Grille was also busy for lunch.  the filet mignon was excellent – might as well splurge since it could be my last meal…

  14. While I did not do any shopping in Vancouver, in Palm Springs, business and consumer spending seems better than last year, which was better than the year before.  Restaurants are doing better and a few realtors I have spoken to have all had a good year, not record, but good.  And there is some new home construction going on.

  15. I tried to go to the Apple store at Victoria Gardens outdoor mall here in Rancho Cucamonga Friday. There was no parking and so much traffic going in I turned around and went home. This is an upscale mall for this area with lots of parking. Maybe we have turned the corner economically here in Southern California. The Crate and Barrel closed in September, so upscale home furnishings still taking a hit.  Finally starting to see new home construction pick up, which has been nonexistent for several years now.

  16. Milwaukee, WI:  Shopping Malls, moderately busy and easy to park in the surrounding lots.  Big Box Stores:  Normal traffic, almost as if the Holiday Season does not exist.  My wife took advantage of the bad weather on Thursday evening.  She described it as if the stores were open only for her.  And it was only raining.  The snow didn't begin until the next afternoon.  I'd say retail business is light.   Apple Note:  Ordered a MacBook online Thursday.  The in-store delivery was listed as Jan 6th.  Fed-Ex delivery was the next day!!  

  17. Las Vegas – Kohls open all night until Christmas.  We were up early for airport run, so the wife went to Kohls to shop at  5am.  The store was empty, store clerks reported that there was basically no activity.  JCP, the day before, had light amount of shoppers.  They remodeled the interior and I was impressed with the colors and lighting.  Nothing in the way of fashion for what I was looking for.  Mall on the strip – lots of people.  Apple store packed.  Lots of Victoria Secrets Bags (bright red, can't miss them). :)   I am still not impressed with the retail over the holiday.  IMHO – Muted!

  18. Apple stores in London, Regent st. and Covent Garden pretty full. iPhone 5 and iPad in stock all sizes. The news is the iPad mini sells out every morning by 9:30. According to a red shirt they get 200-300 every morning and they are quickly gone.

  19. Silverdale, Wa. – Across the bay from Seattle, son in law says the mall was packed and people are spending money.

  20. Atlanta, GA: something sure changed since last week; all north side malls packed, very few parking spaces available.

  21. Cleveland,Ohio
    Went out Saturday and the malls were packed people buying, some of popular items not on shelves.(sold out)
    Amazon  kindle Fire basic out of stock most places, Plenty of Fire HD's available( Bought a Fire for my 75 year old mother as a test)   Best Buy packed selling TV's,computers lines at all cash registers I actually got tired of waiting in line and left.

  22. Last update – Las Vegas – Was out mid afternoon.  BBY did not look that busy for Saturday before Christmas.  However, the checkout person said they have been steady the last couple of days.  I would have expected the parking lot to be full with checkout lanes being a lot busier.
    Target – Pretty good crowd.
    Costco – The parking lot was as full as I ever saw it.

  23. Las Vegas -Apple store in Town Square 7p the 23rd light traffic for an apple store.  Plenty of stock but no mini's.  clerk said they have not been coming in.  Plenty of iPad 3's.

  24. Did a little miscellaneous shopping on Sunday and stores were packed.   BBY had huge lines and way too many people, BKS was pretty busy too but I've seen them busier.  Occurred to me that I've never seen a person actually buying a Nook at the counter and I've stood on plenty of lines there.  SBUX in BKS was the most packed I've ever seen it other than days we had power outages in town and everyone went there for Internet.  I waited behind 4 people at 2pm to pay $3 for some hot cider – which is my favorite thing at SBUX – I could literally drive from store to store refreshing those…  

    WFM was not that busy but boy did they have great food.  We're having turkey, duck and brisket for Christmas feast and I had to pass on a magnificent looking prime rib and and equally impressive rack of lamb because it would just be too much.  They did have a good line at their catering booth so maybe it was simply a matter of more people just spending up and letting them do all the work.  

    On Saturday I was at the Riverside Square mall, which my kids call the "quiet mall" because it's generally upscale and very, very quiet compared to our bigger malls in the same are but it was as packed as I'd ever seen it and the kids were shocked (we had gone there specifically to avoid crowds) to see that many people at that mall – never in their lives (12 years) had they seen such a thing.  I'm not sure what it means – Bloomingdale's had what seemed to be an insane sale with 15% off what were already 30-50% mark-downs if you used their credit card and they were doing very well (or at least moving merchandise – I don't see how there's profit in it).  We even bought North Face stuff on sale – usually hard to find at good discounts.  

    Brookstone was very busy and Jackie (10) has decided that's her favorite store in the mall.  She begged me for a $299 projector that can make 60" images or movies off your IPhone.  I thought it was way cool and would have bought it for her but I decided to be a good parent and say no as I don't want to spoil her but I can predict we will own this thing for some reason or other over the next few months.  When I was a kid, I would have sold my soul for something that cool and, of course, something like this cost $3,000 10 years ago (for a really big one), not $300 – so it doesn't seem unreasonable to me at all…

    Very good article from the NYTimes re. how people shop on-line.  Very interesting.  

  25. In the Woodlands, TX mall was quiet yesterday morning, the Apple store half full and few people carrying gifts. It may have been early but I spent two hours there but still not crowded when I left.  However I did overhear two people talking about it being very, very crowded the day before.  The big name retail stores were virtually empty and Macy 's looked like a normal weekday.  One store that was very busy was the James Avery store.