NEWSFLASH: Holiday Sales Will Suck

Given all of our recent coverage of how the economy is going down the toilet, we find this Fitch report on holiday sales…obvious. (Read a summary here.)

“As expected, the 2008 ‘back-to-school’ period showed disappointing results for department store and specialty retailers,” the report says. “This is a signal that the crucial winter holiday period will experience weak sales.”

Really?

We don’t mean to put down Fitch in any way, but does anyone expect holiday sales to come out favorably at this point? And in a climate where it seems like every once-respected financial institution in this country is failing, does anyone care? Will there even be a holiday to SELL?

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8 Responses to “NEWSFLASH: Holiday Sales Will Suck”


  1. 1 Alison September 18, 2008 at 8:45 am

    Ian
    I usually love your blog. Next time, maybe you should try using a better word than “suck”. It makes you sound uneducated.

  2. 2 iritter September 18, 2008 at 8:50 am

    Alison-
    Sorry to offend, but “stink” or “will be really bad” seems like an understatement right now.

  3. 3 CubicleDweller September 18, 2008 at 9:38 am

    “Suck” was definitely the right word.

  4. 4 E September 18, 2008 at 9:56 am

    Ian;

    Your language is fine; its jarring to make a point, and the point is nobody can look to holiday retail sales as a panacea for this crisis.

    Retailers are looking for consumers to spend more? No one on this planet can be that deluded. Won’t happen. Money’s tight, credit card companies are watching consumer payments like they haven’t in years.

    This will be the nostalgia Christmas season, i.e. “…remember when I could afford an X-box game for my son…” and take a pass for now on what many consumers will view as a holiday they can’t afford. They can’t buy now and pay later. This is later. They can’t sell the holiday as a “now” idea because we’re up against the wall.

    People need to smarten up — forego holiday “cheer” this year, focus, to avoid “….gee, I remember when I had a house and could pay my mortgage…..”.

    Don’t change a thing, Ian. H.L. Mencken couldn’t have said it better; this holiday will suck. No one is looking forward to it; the privation and fear this finanical mess is engendering runs completely counter to the very basic idea the holiday. The preoccupation this holiday season will be on survival, not the latest do-dad from Rachel Ray for mom.

  5. 5 zack September 18, 2008 at 2:52 pm

    How about
    “blows”

  6. 6 Kevin September 18, 2008 at 4:22 pm

    Retailers need to get real with pricing. Sales are th key to turnover, not unrealistic gross margin. Turnover is the name of the retail game and retailers like Dillard’s need to learn to take markdowns on a timely basis, not the end of the season.

    Also when taking markdowns learn from your buying and timing mistakes. I see fresh runs of merchandise at 75% off…this makes no sense.

  7. 7 Chin Up September 19, 2008 at 2:42 am

    Too early to say what three months from now will look like, especially since a week ago, the world looked much different. Maybe by then, things will be looking up. Whenever I think of how brave the people of Britain were during the Battle of Britain, when they were getting bombed day and night, how they were the last free democracy left in Europe, and how great their fighting spirit was, I almost get teary-eyed. We need to find that spirit in ourselves.

  8. 8 Nancy H September 22, 2008 at 12:26 pm

    I agree with E – let’s make this the “nostalgia” Christmas…but I think I would take a different focus. Rather than fond memories of when I could buy an X-box for my son, I am remembering the Christmas’s I grew up with – when my stocking was stuffed with walnuts, pecans, almonds, oranges and apples, with a sprinkling of candy canes on top – and when the presents under the tree consisted of one practical gift (like new undies), and one toy..ONE…per kid. And that toy wasn’t the latest and greatest electronic gadget – it was a Barbie doll, or a board game that my brothers and I could play together. Before you jump to the conclusion that I grew up in a poor home…I grew up in a rather affluent neighborhood, in a great house with a hard-working, upper middle class family. Why have we let our kids think Christmas is a holiday when your parents have to take out a loan to pay for your gifts?? What happened to warm chocolate fudge, and home-made gifts? I still have things my grandmothers made for me, and they are treasures that could never be replaced by next year’s version of GameBoy. Maybe sales will suck this Christmas, but it might give us a chance to get back to making this a holiday we remember for better reasons than how much money we had to spend.


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