From Bad to Worse

People looking for good news have come to the wrong place nowadays. Retail same-store sales, according to ICSC, were October’s worst in 35 years.

Luxury did terribly. Teen stores got hammered. Even discounters like Target and TJX Cos. had poor fairings.

It’s not looking good for the holiday-selling season, unless you’re Wal-Mart, which posted a 2.4% increase. Even freaking Costco’s same-store sales dropped 1%, after a 10% downward beating at its international stores.

We have a feeling we’ll be hearing the same news months from now when holiday sales come out. Is there anything retailers can do to reverse this process or are they doomed?

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8 Responses to “From Bad to Worse”


  1. 1 James November 7, 2008 at 11:51 am

    Wish I could be opptimistic, sorry but 08 may be retail’s nuclear winter.
    Install “WalMart pricing” at Nordstrom, cause there isn’t going to be any jingle in those bells this year.

  2. 2 Will November 10, 2008 at 10:30 am

    It’s back to basics after a couple decades of non-essentials based retailers popping up (think Tweeter, Circuit City, Brookstone, etc)
    People are “needs” shopping at the moment, they’re putting their “wants” off until better days. Wal-Mart will make a killing, and so will China.

  3. 3 Brad Ellman, November 10, 2008 at 11:14 am

    So…will retailers be offered a bailout package like AIG, the “investment banks”, and US auto makers? Probably not.
    Remarkable that it’s been estimated that consumer spending accounts for 2/3 of our economy, but the Retail sector is going to be left to fend for itself while other sectors take in government funds by the 100’s of billions.

  4. 4 Maureen Travis November 11, 2008 at 11:25 am

    Perhaps the gas companies and the public utilities can pitch in some rebate checks. It would be nice I understand they have a nice surplus of cash.

  5. 5 DifferentEconomyNow November 11, 2008 at 12:23 pm

    During the Depression in the Thirties, my grandfather, who was wealthier than most in Northern New Mexico, would often leave an animal tied to a poor neighbor’s front yard post to help out the family. It is not a huge stretch for the above poster’s suggestion (Maureen Travis), that other industries that are doing well pitch in to help less fortunate industries.

  6. 6 Paula November 11, 2008 at 12:27 pm

    Those who look for gloom and doom will find it. Those who look for good news will make it. One should look for opportunities in times of adversity. Those who do will come out on top.

  7. 7 David Floyd November 11, 2008 at 1:26 pm

    The kind act you noted of your grandfather is called charity, and was an answer to a call by Christ to all to assist those who can not help themselves. It is also a voluntary action, NOT forcibly taken and redistributed as in socialistic societies. Ultimately the obligation to take responsibility for one’s self was never taken away by Christ, but by good intentioned and poor government legislation.

    In regard to failing/failed commercial ventures, we call them buy-outs and mergers. The open market is the best market for businesses to fail or succeed. If they are failing, they are not meeting a market need or suffer from poor management generally speaking.

    On occasion, a natural calamity or man-made catastrophe does occur. As such, many businesses in this country have opened their doors to help out. When the Twin Towers were attacked, countless businesses opened to affected competitors their offices to help those businesses stricken by the terrorists attack. When hurricanes devastated the gulf coast, businesses stepped up and (Wal-Mart was superb) provided relief as best they could. I personally went with a group (several had construction businesses) down and worked for several days- at our expense.

    As for bail-outs, nobody bailed me out in 1985 when I was forced into bankruptcy. I learned hard lessons, made major changes and recovered over the next couple years. I have a hard time bailing out any failing/failed business when they take some of the bail-out money and throw a $400,000.00 “thank-you” party or pay failed management millions in golden parachutes or bonus money for non-performance.

    It again goes back to accountability. When accountability is removed, you get what we got. Poor credit practices largely imposed upon the lending institutions in the beginning by poor but good intended legislation, brought us the failed FHA, Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac debacle. Then it was followed up by creative irresponsible “business people” in giving credit to anyone who could create a fog a mirror. Perhaps because so much falls back on poor legislation that is why the government decided to do the bail-outs. Too bad those who crafted the legislation and voted for it are not held accountable.

  8. 8 Opportunities Abound November 13, 2008 at 4:00 am

    As we all look for opportunities to pursue, consider taking the best ideas from those retailers who will be replaced soon or are on the sure path to becoming obsolete, and incorporate their good ideas into your operational components. Retail is always morphing and renewing itself. People have always purchased items since the beginning, thousands of years ago, and that will not change anytime soon.


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