December Retail Sales Not As Bad As Feared
Remember the story a week ago about how trips to the mall were off up to 30% portending huge declines in holiday retail sales? Much like the price of oil was supposed to be $5 a gallon by now? The Wall Street Journal has a great chart listing December year-over-year sales for the big retailers right here. And guess what? It wasn’t as bad as feared.
Sales at Aeropostale, the low-priced casual apparel store, were up 12 percent. Specialty teenage retailer Hot Topic had a 4.3 percent sales increase. Sales at Children’s Place and Ross Stores were flat. Even my perenial whipping post Macy’s only showed a 4% decline.
Of course Neiman Marcus and Saks were way off. Not, I think because of their price points but because long ago they too thought they could stock really expensive items that anyone could tell were worth it. Have you gone into one of these stores lately?
I was at Saks across from Rockefeller Center in December. I was dressed casually but not a slob. After a long, cramped ride in an old elevator I arrived at men’s suits.
There I found three impeccably dressed gentlemen standing at the front of the floor talking about low sales. They took one look at me and continued talking.
Sure they looked the part, but if they could be that cavalier about airing their feelings, how much motivation do you think they had to sell the merch?
We’re seeing some stabilizing in retail but it is sure to be rocky the next several months. Don’t use the word recession to limit your abilities or make excuses.
Plan for the recovery today by hiring and training the best, no matter how they dress.