Holiday Sales Verdict: Mixed

Far be it from me to say "I told you so," but . . .

A roundup of all the same store sales data shows that holiday sales were a mixed bag. Internet sales, Electronics and Discounting were the big winners. Department stores, malls, and those who refused  to engage in aggressively promotional pricing were the losers.

Digital cameras, celll phones, plasma screens, and all flavors of iPods are hot sellers. Several analysts upped their expected Apple sales figures for Q4.

One  of the surprises: Luxury goods have lost some luster from prior years. However, I would expect the Neiman Marcus/Tiffany/Coach/Nordstroms of the world to regain sales momentum as we get closer to the holidays. Trust me when I tell you that no one will be spending their Wall Street bonuses at Wal-Mart.

Unrelated to the holiday shopping season, auto sales were weak. As you were warned in August, there is only a finite number of cars that can be shoehorned into garages and drvieways. Whatever was given away at cost in July and August were sales stolen from October and November. This is despite all of the cars that needed to be replaced post-Katrina. Estimates were that some half a million cars were destroyed.

Consumer Spending Turns Cautious
Despite a Holiday Spike, Retailers and Auto Makers See Sales Rise Only Mildly
THE WALL STREET JOURNAL, December 2, 2005; Page A3

Luxury Products Appear to Lose Luster, Data Show   
By Leslie Earnest,
LA Times, December 2, 2005,1,5880059.story?

For Retailers, Season Gets Off To a So-So Start
By Ylan Q. Mui
Washington Post Staff, Friday, December 2, 2005; Page D01

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What's been said:

Discussions found on the web:
  1. B commented on Dec 2

    Oh come on Barry. You love Wal-Mart. Wait until they open in Midtown right near the Chanel store. Hey, not only is the store quite an adventure, but I love how they treat their employees and our political leaders chalk it up to good ole Americana, apple pie and the free markets.

    I guess it just validates the constant struggle for fairness when a greedy few are in charge. I guess companies like Nucor, Southwest Air, Starbucks, IBM, Honda and others who mostly strive for some type of dignitity for all employees have it wrong. How can Starbucks & Costco provide full healthcare for all employees, profit sharing for all employees, aggressive pay for all employees and still keep margins so high? It’s called human psychology 101. Every business is a people business. The same thing would have happened with a different route at Wal-Mart. Human behavior never changes. ( A rant I could get on that would never end on how greed is good but greed with dignity wins more consumers and employee productivity.) What camp is Wall Street in? That’s rhetorical. LOL!

    BLR responds:

    Been there 3 X — too big, too fluorescent, and a little depressing –
    Target is much nicer

  2. Todd commented on Dec 2

    I read once that for every dollar spent in the US. 17 cents goes to wal-mart.

  3. donna commented on Dec 3

    See the WalMart Movie and then ask if you still want to shop there… 40% of employees on public assistance and Chinese sweat shops that charge employees rent for squallid dorm rooms even if employees don’t want to live there… owners in gated mansions earning 700,000 times their employee’s pay and with a bunker in case things go south…

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