No Stimulus for Retail?

It looks like we are close to having a $789 billion stimulus plan pass through Congress, and a number of real estate trade groups seem happy about it.

But one organization, the National Retail Federation, is less than enthused. In its statement, the NRF says the plan will not do enough to boost consumer spending.

The group is saying that what needs to be included in the plan are national sales tax holidays. “The increased sales resulting from these holidays would provide a direct infusion of liquidity into the economy estimated at $20 billion,” says Steve Pfister, NRF’s SVP of government relations, saying it would create jobs and boost consumer confidence.

One article says that consumers are finally apt to save then spend, and a tax holiday would only be a temporary fix.

Do you think the stimulus plan could, or should, do more for retail?

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14 Responses to “No Stimulus for Retail?”


  1. 1 James February 12, 2009 at 8:30 am

    The NRF looks like a drunken bank executive stumpling to the table at a congressional hearing demanding a higher bonus! Haven’t the last 8 years seen enough retail stimulus? We are over stored and highly over stimulated, please turn off the happy juice before we drown in it!

  2. 2 little nat February 12, 2009 at 12:12 pm

    Have been in the retail brokerage for over 35 years. We do not need any of the stimulus,we need jobs to be brought back to the good old
    USA. Jobs create spending and need. You can not buy happiness without strings attached. Earning joy/happiness is the best way to exist.

  3. 3 Howard Sherwood February 12, 2009 at 12:47 pm

    One of the best stimulus for brick and mortar stores would be sales tax on internet sales. We as retailers continue to compete against internet sellers (and we too have a sight) in which all or very little of their sales are taxable. Now, in California with a new hike in sales tax, the interenet customer (unless a resident of the state where a retailer has stores) automatically will be buying at a minimum of 9.5% (new California sales tax) less than at the retail store.

    While our federal, state and municipal governments are all looking for revenue sources perhaps now is the time to try to level the playing field between brick and mortar and the internet.

  4. 4 NostimulusNoJobs February 12, 2009 at 2:02 pm

    Retail contributes two thirds (66%) to the GDP and employs millions across the country. Of course we need to jump start retail. Otherwise, we will see massive job loss every single month.

    The problem with our current system is the focus on never ending phony expectations of same store sales increases. Most retailers have maxed out their sales given their constraints.

    Our “Brave New World” will bring dramatic challenges to preceding reliance on debt to fund merchant inventory and consumer debt to prop up sales. Companies will need to focus on employee retention and truly running a better organization; not just an endless quest for the bottom line.

    Please, someone bring back the sanity in retail.

  5. 5 ks February 13, 2009 at 2:07 am

    sounds like a bad idea, and i work retail.
    the nation is in enough debt as is, so doing away with taxes—even temporarily—sounds like putting a band aid over a bullet wound.

  6. 6 Michael February 13, 2009 at 9:06 am

    When the serious retail layoffs begin in March there will be a different tune sung by many. Reading some of the comments today slamming tax cuts, I wonder what will happen when soem of these same people lose their jobs. 9.5% Sales tax in California? Are you kidding me? The answere to some is tax everything including Internet sales.
    Perfect! We are overtaxed at every level. Wait until they increase the gas tax another dollar. Some of these people will be happier. Hit the person that is driving to work, paying a mortgage
    school tuition, car payment, etc. It is insane.

  7. 7 D Short February 13, 2009 at 9:09 am

    If consumers don’t have jobs, then they don’t have money. If they don’t have money, the don’t spend, regardless of any holiday on taxes. Did your readers skip that day in economics class?

    Anyone asking for more than job stimulus is bemoaning their own special interests. Ah, but wait, isn’t that what the current plan is, a smorgasbord of special intersts? Look how well the stock market has welcomed THAT plan . . .

  8. 8 Brad Ellman, February 13, 2009 at 10:56 am

    Interesting that retail seems to be the bottom of the food chain in Washington. Our “leaders” probably see it as a trickle down….

    Please remember that the “Stimulus plan” is nothing more than a government having to again, cover up it’s own errors. We all pay a big chunk of our weekly paycheck to a system that has failed to protect us. Whether militarily or by regulation of the financial/banking systems that create wealth, the guys in charge in Washington have messed up again…royally.
    Now that the system has been smashed and grabbed for the last 8 or so years, the consumer/taxpayer is being asked to pay even more in the way of stimulus to correct irresponsible financial management and government.

    We can all hope, but what makes anyone think that the same foxes in the same hen houses are going to do a better job this time?

  9. 9 NostimulusNoJobs February 13, 2009 at 3:59 pm

    “A good plan executed today is better than a perfect plan executed at some indefinite point in the future.”
    – General George Patton Jr

    We need to throw what we have at the problem: Tax Holidays, tax the internet sales, green industry, changing the economic paradigm,whatever else anyone can dream up. A system based and fueled on insatiable debt will start to feed on itself; this is what we are experiencing. Nobody escapes a liquidity trap.

  10. 10 NostimulusNoJobs February 13, 2009 at 8:34 pm

    PS 1 in 5 workers in the US is employed by Retail, that’s over 23 MILLION AMERICANS.

  11. 11 NostimulusNoJobs February 14, 2009 at 1:36 pm

    PSS Additionally, retail is often a “buffer” or 2nd job for many to meet the bills, given this, it’s like a three legged stool, if that job falls out, people can fall between the cracks and straight into the state assistance or welfare status. And, many Seniors use retail to help with their social security checks, making them particularly vulnerable, as well.

  12. 12 PG February 17, 2009 at 9:11 am

    Great. Just what we need-more people with their hands out. When did America become such a nation of beggars? It’s disgusting. Without decent paying middle class jobs, the majority of people will not be spending money, stimulus or not. Create the jobs, and you will create the demand. It will take time, but we did not get here overnight either. For the record, I live in Michigan, and am opposed to any bailout, including the auto industry.

  13. 13 NostimulusNoJobs February 17, 2009 at 3:13 pm

    Yep, there’s nothing like shunning the down and out to make you feel more superior. “There but the grace of God go I….”

  14. 14 PG February 18, 2009 at 11:08 am

    NSNJ, it’s not that at all. I was primarily referring to the bankers and big corporations who have made one bad decision after another, and now come feeding at the trough of public (i.e. OUR) money without changing their behaviors that got them into this mess in the first place. When they ship manufacturing jobs overseas and wonder why there are fewer and fewer people that can buy their products…when they ship these jobs overseas and exhort us to “buy American” while they screw their suppliers…any stimulus spending (which is money we don’t even have) is a (very) short term fix that will be forgotten tomorrow and we will still be in the same boat. And we’re just handing this mess over to our children and grandchildren. I guess we should thank them.


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