Friday, December 26, 2008

Well, it wasn't a "Ho-Ho-Ho" for Retailers

In fact it is, "Can we survive 2009?"

for real.

"The last week of December represents about 14 percent of Christmas sales," said C. Britt Beemer, chairman of America's Research Group. "You can't save a season with only one-seventh of the sales to go."

The holiday season — which typically accounts for 30 percent to 50 percent of a retailer's annual total sales — has been less than jolly for most retailers. Job cuts, portfolio losses and other economic woes have convinced consumers to cut back on their spending. Meanwhile, strong winter storms during the holiday season kept some would-be shoppers at home.

According to preliminary data from SpendingPulse — a division of MasterCard Advisors that tracks total sales paid for by credit card, checks and cash — retail sales fell between 5.5 percent and 8 percent during the holiday season compared with last year. Excluding auto and gas sales, they fell 2 percent to 4 percent, according to SpendingPulse.

Sales of women's clothing dropped nearly 23 percent while men's clothing sales slipped more than 14 percent. Footwear sales fell 13.5 percent. Sales of electronics and appliances fell even more drastically, dropping almost 27 percent.

We have lived HIGH ON THE HOG, too long. It is over.

2009 is not going to be pretty and if you have a job, you better hope to keep it. If you don't, I hope you find one. It will be, no, is like that.

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