Red Christmas is a Nightmare

Discussion
Dec 22, 2003
George Anderson

By George Anderson


British retailers are saying this year will go down as the worst in recent years, barring some unforeseen shopping miracle, according to a report in The Observer.


Food stores and consumer electronics appear to be the only major categories to be experiencing growth. Independent retailers and chains, such as Woolworth’s and Marks & Spencer,
are reportedly seeing sales on the top end up two percent with many hoping to get to break even.


On this side of the Atlantic, retailers in the U.S. are counting on shopping procrastinators and bargain shoppers hitting the stores to help boost disappointing sales. Even discount
giant, Wal-Mart, while predicting sales growth, is pegging its increase at the low end of its forecast.


Shopper traffic to malls and discount stores was reported as heavy in many areas of the country over the pre-Christmas weekend, although sales figures are not yet in to see if
that translated into appreciable sales. There is also concern that the government’s decision to raise the terror alert level to orange (high risk) may keep shoppers away from
stores.


Retailers of luxury goods such as Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom appear to be the exception to the soft sales rule in the U.S. this holiday period.


Moderator’s Comment: Will retailing rebound in 2004?


The next year will be about jobs, jobs and more jobs. The rumored recovery that the administration and economists tell us is already happening won’t go
very far without them. Look for the outsourcing of jobs overseas to become an even bigger issue in 2004.
[George
Anderson – Moderator
]

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