That's the key message from the world of retail these days, according to Regions Financial's Bob Allsbrook. The bank's chief economist says many chains have decided that they need to roll out their best deals this month to get shoppers inside their stores because they're afraid there won't be much money in our wallets by December. "Everybody's trying to pull sales forward from December," Allsbrook said earlier this week. "They want to lock in the consumer now." Exhibit A: Wal-Mart will for the first time ever open its stores all day on Thanksgiving Day. The secondary effect of this year's holiday shopping trend is that it's likely sought-after items won't be easy to find come the middle of next month. And the more shoppers realize that, the more they'll go shopping early. Just how this all will help retailers' bottom lines is yet to be determined.
Nov 17, 2010 1:12 PM
Consumer spending rose just 0.2 percent in September, the Commerce Department said this morning. Most of us, it seems, are sticking to the so-called necessities. From the looks of the National Restaurant Association's monthly index, that now includes going out to eat more.
“The RPI’s solid gain in September was the result of broad-based improvements among both the current situation and forward-looking indicators,” said Hudson Riehle, senior vice president of the Research and Knowledge Group for the National Restaurant Association. “Restaurant operators reported positive same-store sales and customer traffic levels for the first time in six months, which propelled the RPI’s Current Situation Index to its highest level in nearly three years.”
Nov 1, 2010 12:28 PM
Mish passes on the latest data points on consumer discretionary spending from Gallup, which show that our spending on daily stuff is at its lowest since January 2008.
Gallup modeling suggests that lower- and middle-income spending is significantly more sensitive to job market conditions than is upper-income spending. In this regard, the September decline in lower- and middle-income spending may reflect the sharp increase in unemployment over the same period and continued high underemployment levels. Further, the lagged effects of continuing high and increasing unemployment are probably yet to be fully felt.
Oct 15, 2010 10:50 AM
On the heels of Family Dollar's better-than-expected Q4 earnings report, one analyst told CNBC viewers this morning that the company and its dollar-store peers such as Dollar General will continue to take market share from Wal-Mart Stores in coming years. That's a change in thinking from the consensus that had expected dollar-store growth to fade as the economy recovers. But JP Morgan's Charles Grom said on CNBC that, "if you go back over the past year, Wal-Mart made a couple of missteps" in terms of its product offerings and has lost some shoppers because of that. "A lot of low-income consumers like those products and dollar stores have been able to take market share [...] The fill-in guy [shoppers picking up just a few items during the week] is not shopping Wal-mart anymore and I don't think they're gonna get him back." Grom also suggested that part of the market shift is due to the fact that a large number of Family Dollar and Dollar General stores are in the Southeast, overlapping with some of the denser parts of Wal-Mart's store network. Asked how Wal-Mart should respond, Grom said the retail titan should expand its small-store offerings — something the company has said it will do — or plain buy its way into the dollar-store market. If the market-share trends hold up, that strategic possibility could put a solid floor under the shares of Dollar General and its main competitors. Check out the video here.
Sep 29, 2010 9:27 AM
The Hotel Data Conference organized by Smith Travel Research is in town and, at a breakout session yesterday, one speaker detailed a recent survey that shows hotel operators aren't charging as much for their rooms as consumers are expecting to pay. Across the industry's price points, the gap between expectations and the bill is more than 20 percent. That says a lot about the state of mind of both parties involved: Operators are worried about pricing themselves out of business and travelers are still buying hotel rooms thinking they got a steal. Close that gap and many might stay home.
Aug 5, 2010 9:14 AM
July sales of Nissan and Infiniti rose almost 15 percent from a year ago, with the company's truck and SUV models selling particularly well. Alan Ohnsman at Bloomberg BusinessWeek has some broader industry perspective, including the fact that Nissan is now growing at its fastest rate since 2004.
Aug 4, 2010 9:16 AM
How Dollar General and its main competitors will do once consumers and the economy regain their strength seems to come down to one question: Will they still want to be seen in a dollar store?
Craig Johnson, president of New Canaan (Conn.)-based consulting firm Customer Growth Partners, predicts that like Wildrick, customers will become hooked once they see dollar stores have evolved. "They've become a new generation of convenience stores, not just a place to buy something on the cheap," he says. Maggie Gilliam, president of New York-based retail consulting firm Gilliam & Co., disagrees. "Most people don't aspire to shop at dollar stores," she says. "As soon as they feel better economically, they'll return to their old stores."
Aug 2, 2010 1:31 PM
The U.S. economy grew by 2.4 percent in the second quarter, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis. First-quarter growth was revised higher by a full percentage point due to inventory restocking, but economists are looking for growth to slow even more in the second half of 2010. SEE ALSO: The BEA's full release
Jul 30, 2010 8:38 AM