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Retail Sales Plummet
Wall Street Journal ^ | DECEMBER 26, 2008 | ANN ZIMMERMAN, JENNIFER SARANOW and MIGUEL BUSTILLO

Posted on 12/26/2008 5:34:47 PM PST by An Old Man

Edited on 12/26/2008 5:35:48 PM PST by Admin Moderator. [history]

Price-slashing failed to rescue a bleak holiday season for beleaguered retailers, as sales plunged across most categories on shrinking consumer spending, according to new data released Thursday.

Despite a flurry of last-minute shoppers lured by the deep discounts, total retail sales, excluding automobiles, fell over the year-earlier period by 5.5% in November and 8% in December through Christmas Eve, according to MasterCard Inc.'s SpendingPulse unit.


(Excerpt) Read more at online.wsj.com ...


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Culture/Society; Front Page News; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: christmas; retail
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This spells a bitter disappointment for companies that had hoped the holidays would offset a year when sales have been sliding steadily, draining profits and, in many instances, undermining the ability to pay down debt. The industry already has seen a parade of retailers entering bankruptcy proceedings, such as Circuit City Stores Inc., and liquidating, including Mervyn's LLC and Linens 'N Things Inc. The weak holiday sales mean more chains are likely to follow suit next year.

1 posted on 12/26/2008 5:34:47 PM PST by An Old Man
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To: An Old Man

Wow... this means there might be some good deals to be had now.


2 posted on 12/26/2008 5:37:22 PM PST by pnh102 (Save America - Ban Ethanol Now!)
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To: An Old Man

Hmmm... and Amazon had the best year ever....


3 posted on 12/26/2008 5:38:35 PM PST by xcamel (The urge to save humanity is always a false front for the urge to rule it. - H. L. Mencken)
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To: An Old Man

A 5.5 and 8 percent drop is “plunging”? Why does this seem more like a modest decline?


4 posted on 12/26/2008 5:39:04 PM PST by whipitgood (Real Americans don't allow socialists to take over their country.)
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To: whipitgood

Survival of the fittest. How’d Wal-Mart fare?


5 posted on 12/26/2008 5:41:09 PM PST by nobama08
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To: whipitgood
A 5.5 and 8 percent drop is “plunging”? Why does this seem more like a modest decline?

Such a rate of decline in government spending would be considered "catastrophic". Unless that decline came from defense spending, of course.

6 posted on 12/26/2008 5:41:44 PM PST by Night Hides Not (Don't blame me...I voted for Palin!)
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To: An Old Man

Everyone spent their money on guns. I know my family did.


7 posted on 12/26/2008 5:44:05 PM PST by Domandred (Hope is the first step on the road to disappointment.)
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To: An Old Man
On the other hand...Amazon says 2008 holiday season was 'best ever'
8 posted on 12/26/2008 5:46:04 PM PST by BlessedBeGod
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To: An Old Man
fell over the year-earlier period by 5.5% in November and 8% in December through Christmas Eve, according to MasterCard Inc.'s SpendingPulse unit

If more people decided to pay cash, might the data be skewed?

9 posted on 12/26/2008 5:46:34 PM PST by fso301
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To: An Old Man

I went into our big box store here in Wasilla Alaska, Fred Meyers on the 23rd because they always have a 50-70% sale on Christmas toys, not this year, the shelves were stacked full and nobody was buying, I guess it kinda backfired on them thinking they could hold out and keep the profit margin intact.

America is hurting financially and even sales events won’t help.

And of course this also means imports are just sitting at the docks, China has loaded ships at its docks that won’t sale because the stores like Walmart are not selling.

While most people are doing this to stretch dollars because of financial hardships there are those that have decided its also a passive form of indirect protest or resistance, I look at it as such, I resist buying but the absolute minimum, no credit card purchases and I have paid off my bills.

And of course when millions are doing the same thing it affects the economy and thus affects politics, I know its a stretch but has any thinkers thought of America just doing a sit down protest? They can bluster all they want but America is protesting, and yet they still have no clue why.


10 posted on 12/26/2008 5:57:39 PM PST by Eye of Unk (How strangely will the Tools of a Tyrant pervert the plain Meaning of Words! SA)
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To: xcamel

Yep. And don’t ignore the weather. For a large chunk of the shopping season 2/3rds of the US was buried under ice or snow. I went out to the mall on Christmas eve - around 2 PM - to do some last minute shopping. The mall was empty, but that’s not because of the lack of gifts (gauging from the number of UPS and Fedex trucks in front of the neighbor’s houses) - it was due to 12” of snow on the ground and simply impassible roads around here.

A little thaw today, and the mall was packed...


11 posted on 12/26/2008 6:00:10 PM PST by PugetSoundSoldier (Indignation over the sting of truth is the defense of the indefensible)
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To: Domandred
Everyone spent their money on guns.

Unless it was an inexpensive stocking-stuffer for the non-shooters, the niteowl77 family gift of choice this year was ammunition.

Mr. niteowl77

12 posted on 12/26/2008 6:00:36 PM PST by niteowl77 (You wanted him, and now you have got him. I say, "Good day to you," America.)
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To: An Old Man
More retail outlets will go out of business. But this is history repeating itself. Just for fun, here are some of the chains I remember. I'm in the mid-atlantic, but feel free to chime in with regional stores from around the country.

Two Guys From Harrison
EJ Korvettes - had a great record department
Great Eastern
Alexander's
White-Modell’s
Robert Hall - still remember the Christmas jingle -”We're doing our Christmas shopping at Robert Hall this Year”
Stern's
Caldor
Gimbel’s
Hahne’s
Abraham and Straus

13 posted on 12/26/2008 6:01:18 PM PST by pineybill (`)
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To: An Old Man
This spells a bitter disappointment for companies that had hoped the holidays would offset a year when sales have been sliding steadily

And what was the basis of that hope? What (with the exception of the One) could possibly lead a thinking person to believe sales would pick up as the economy crashes down all around us?

14 posted on 12/26/2008 6:01:48 PM PST by NonValueAdded (once you get to really know people, there are always better reasons than [race] for despising them.)
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To: whipitgood

You’ve never worked retail? 8% can wipe you out.


15 posted on 12/26/2008 6:10:19 PM PST by Psycho_Bunny (ALSO SPRACH ZEROTHUSTRA)
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To: An Old Man

"Yeah me too! All Christmas at the corner and not one damn sale! Obama bet'ah be get'n this economy going!"

16 posted on 12/26/2008 6:10:33 PM PST by Leisler
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To: pineybill
Or another Robert Hall jingle, for anytime of year:
17 posted on 12/26/2008 6:12:43 PM PST by ThePythonicCow ( Mooo !!)
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To: Eye of Unk

Economic protest is the only vote counting these days. Other than buying ammo, I am trying to shrink my economy till I fall off the radar.


18 posted on 12/26/2008 6:16:26 PM PST by SisterK (pop culture is the opiate of the people)
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To: Leisler

“you blew a seal!”

“No, its just ice cream!”

(sorry)


19 posted on 12/26/2008 6:16:42 PM PST by patton (Old BMP-1 Driver)
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To: pineybill

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_defunct_department_stores_of_the_United_States


20 posted on 12/26/2008 6:17:22 PM PST by durasell
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To: pineybill
Mode- o- day ,W.t.Grant,Woolworth, Hartfields, Gallenkamps,Grodins, Capwells, Wienstocks,Kinney's shoes, Thom McCanns, If I continue it will date me even more. I just remember going into these with my Mother at Christmas time.
21 posted on 12/26/2008 6:21:12 PM PST by easternsky
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To: ThePythonicCow

When the values go up, up, up,
And the prices go down, down, down.
Robert Hall this season
Will show you the reason
High quality! Economy!


22 posted on 12/26/2008 6:21:51 PM PST by Graymatter
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To: pineybill

Midwest (Columbus Ohio):

Woolco - Dept Store
Ontario - Dept Store
Service Merchandise
Big Bear (”Get a Big Bear hug”) - Grocer
Rinks - Dept Store


23 posted on 12/26/2008 6:22:21 PM PST by Comparative Advantage
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To: pineybill

That’s just about everyone! *sigh*
Well, Bamberger’s. They sold to Macy*s.
It was at 2 Guys that I bought my first phonograph record in 1956.


24 posted on 12/26/2008 6:24:48 PM PST by Graymatter
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To: pnh102

Exactly. $400 Playstation 3s and $1200 LCD TVs are ridiculous.


25 posted on 12/26/2008 6:25:54 PM PST by TheZMan (Troll since 2004, apparently.)
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To: SisterK

Thats the simplicity of economic protest, you need not fear anyone arresting you, you cannot be traced, you are not breaking any laws, and it can be done discretely.

And it does have an effect, at the very least its putting Obama and his co-horts under extreme pressure, we can do it.

I am.

But I still buy ammo.


26 posted on 12/26/2008 6:27:04 PM PST by Eye of Unk (How strangely will the Tools of a Tyrant pervert the plain Meaning of Words! SA)
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To: Domandred
"Everyone spent their money on guns. I know my family did."

Same here. We bought some toys for the kids, and that's it. My wife and I set aside the tradition of buying for each other in favor of investing in some hardware. We looked at is as being a 'family investment'. When income tax return season comes back around here in a couple of months, we plan on doing another round of purchases to finish off our long term inventory goals, being mostly ammo and accessories at this point. Having a wife that is also a gun nut totally rocks!! What's funny is you would never know it by looking at her. She's 5'7, weighs 115lb dripping wet, and is all hottie like. However, when you get her out to the range, she's 100% Rambo lol. She's also about as conservative as they come when it comes to politics.

27 posted on 12/26/2008 6:29:19 PM PST by KoRn
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To: An Old Man

It was funny watching one of the local TV stations talking about how packed one local shopping center was, but the video that accompanied the story showed only a handful of people walking around. I used to work out there, and I know what it looks like packed, and today was just another day. Of course, maybe all of the shoppers were over in the hood buying 0bama stuff.


28 posted on 12/26/2008 6:29:46 PM PST by yawningotter
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To: yawningotter

Gold Circle is having a big sale.


29 posted on 12/26/2008 6:33:37 PM PST by Comparative Advantage
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To: Eye of Unk
...I resist buying but the absolute minimum, no credit card purchases and I have paid off my bills. ...

You and I are on the same page with but one exception: I always use my credit card to make my purchases!,p> That way, I can keep my cash in an interest bearing account for 30 days, and use other peoples money for the same period. The account is always, without exception, paid of at the end of each month.



Do you by chance know my friend Sarah? If so, please pass on my best for the courageous effort she put forth on our behalf last fall.

Thanks,
An Old Man

30 posted on 12/26/2008 6:34:42 PM PST by An Old Man
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To: whipitgood
“A 5.5 and 8 percent drop is “plunging”? Why does this seem more like a modest decline?”

or adjustment following a runaway growth period in which retailers and auto industry expanded too fast.

home builders overbuilt for the existing need.

bankers tried to force-fit people into homes they couldn't afford, not use - plus they too expanded the number of branches way beyond the needs of a community.(and built bank buildings kings and emperors would love)

perhaps some adjustment will be good for the economy and all of us regular folk!!

31 posted on 12/26/2008 6:41:06 PM PST by elpadre (nation)
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To: An Old Man

My local Big Lots has framed Obama posters with “inspirational messages” for $10, marked down from $20.
They can’t seem to be able to get rid of ‘em either.

Yeah, I remember Robert Hall! Also, Jupiter, Kresge, Korvettes(agreed, awesome record dept-$2.99 per album in the late 60’s.)Woolworth, Mott’s, Grant’s, and Bradlees.


32 posted on 12/26/2008 6:46:14 PM PST by Radagast the Fool ("Watch out where the huskies go, don't you eat that yellow snow"!)
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To: Eye of Unk
...the stores like Walmart are not selling.

They sure aren't. Why, I went into the local Wal*Mart last week to buy some coffee early in the morning. One cashier working (about 20-25 employees in the store but only one working a single cash register), and the self-checkout machines were turned off for some reason. I was fourth in line behind two full shopping carts and one other exasperated guy in front of me. I yelled up to the front, "Hey, is this the only lane open?!". The cashier and her supervisor (oh, did I fail to mention that the cashier's supervisor was looking over her shoulder the whole time?) just stared at me, perhaps because I wasn't speaking in Mexican, and then went on with their business. The guy in front of me turned and scowled, "Yes, this is the only checkout lane". I promptly set my coffee on a nearby shelf and walked out.

Fast forward to today: I'm in the same Wal*Mart to buy a small tool box. Couldn't find one, but did find a good price on a diamond-cut paper shredder. Mrs. Randog had been bugging me about replacing the one I absconded with for my shop, so here's my opportunity for some peace. I walked up to the checkout area - 30 lanes for your convenience!! - only to find about 7 of them open and the self-checkout lanes mysteriously closed again. Not seeing an opportunity to get out of the store in 20 minutes or less, I again left my potential purchase on the closest shelf and walked out.

So, EoU, you are correct--Wal*Mart is definitely not selling!

33 posted on 12/26/2008 6:49:38 PM PST by randog (Hope is a bad business plan.)
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To: An Old Man

Sarah does not go out and mingle as much as she used to, I have met her personally once many years ago.

I am glad she is still here in a selfish way, she really is a great governor.


34 posted on 12/26/2008 6:52:15 PM PST by Eye of Unk (How strangely will the Tools of a Tyrant pervert the plain Meaning of Words! SA)
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To: An Old Man

I’m just waiting for Obama to pay my bills and put gas in my tank.... then I’ll start shopping again! /s


35 posted on 12/26/2008 6:58:28 PM PST by Enchante (Bernie Madoff Learned His Investment Strategy from our Social Security System!!)
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To: Eye of Unk
You take real good care of that gal! We will have a job opening up for her in a few years.
36 posted on 12/26/2008 7:00:50 PM PST by An Old Man
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To: Eye of Unk

LOL - I had no clue what you guys were on about. Now I get it.

Duh. Mathematicians. I are one.


37 posted on 12/26/2008 7:01:06 PM PST by patton (Old BMP-1 Driver)
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To: An Old Man
Excellent news.

After the crazy spending of the past few years, there has to be a reduction in spending. This is a return to normality, not an aberration.

Maybe Americans are finally getting it and are realizing that thrift, frugality and prudent financial management are actually virtues which still have relevance even today.

38 posted on 12/26/2008 7:10:06 PM PST by marshmallow ("A country which kills its own children has no future"- Mother Teresa of Calcutta)
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To: marshmallow

Maybe Americans are finally getting it and are realizing that thrift, frugality and prudent financial management are actually virtues which still have relevance even today.


No, Americans are scared and broke.


39 posted on 12/26/2008 7:13:03 PM PST by durasell
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To: whipitgood
A 5.5 and 8 percent drop is “plunging”? Why does this seem more like a modest decline?

That's what my lady and I said when we watched the news tonight. I figure it is the retailers crying a big boo-hoo in preparation for requesting their bailout. "But we employ millions of people in every community in America! If we laid them off, we'd have to cut business hours, and that would make it tough on consumers trying to restart the economy!"

Hey, it works for Detroit...

40 posted on 12/26/2008 7:13:44 PM PST by hunter112 (We seem to be on an excrement river in a Native American watercraft without a propulsion device.)
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To: xcamel
No kidding. Remember, gift card sales and internet buying are NOT included in holiday spending totals. Old line, figures lie and liars......comes to mind.Dumb down everything. It will make Osama bin Biden look good.
41 posted on 12/26/2008 7:14:39 PM PST by Phinanceguy
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To: marshmallow

We after Christmas shopped Macy’s and Penny’s today (26Dec). Some shoppers, decent numbers but no crowds. Why? Well there were lots of 20 to 50 pct off signs, but the prices were high. Saw a nice sweater, polyester and made in China, for $109 before sale discount.

Polyester and Made in China and $109?! Got to be kidding. Drop it 50 pct and the customer is still probably paying twice wholesale.


42 posted on 12/26/2008 7:19:24 PM PST by OldArmy52 (Bush now a Socialist. Who'd a thunk?)
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To: Comparative Advantage

Lazarus

Is Marshall FIelds still around?

In Best Buy today, lots of exchanges and small sales. All CHristmas decorations were down. People were also just plain tacky, rude and crude.

No wonder people want to shop online.


43 posted on 12/26/2008 7:22:14 PM PST by combat_boots ("In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act."Aldous Huxley)
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To: durasell

“Americans are scared and broke.”

We all know we are in the eye of this financial storm, with the political end of it just about ready to whip up a good head of steam come the end of January, trending toward March. That first ‘100 days.’

I’ll say this for W; we might have had unusual incidents in this country here and there since 9/11, but we’ve been blessed not to have a rogue weapon used. Now, to see if these weird ‘Bird Flu it will happen’ scenarios or the media’s ‘get ready for ruin’ messages percolates into something more than ratings is reason to never, ever be without food, shelter, water and ammo. That and an escape plan and route with family code words embedded in the message.


44 posted on 12/26/2008 7:32:48 PM PST by combat_boots ("In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act."Aldous Huxley)
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To: An Old Man

Next year, no matter the economy, Holiday sales will be far and beyond the bestest in all the history of mankind foreverandever Oh-bama!


45 posted on 12/26/2008 7:33:31 PM PST by theDentist (Qwerty ergo typo : I type, therefore I misspelll)
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To: theDentist
Next year, no matter the economy, Holiday sales will be far and beyond the bestest in all the history of mankind foreverandever Oh-bama!

Well, they darn well better be considering all this stimulus stuff he is gonna do.

By the way, what ya gonna do with your free money when if ya get it?

46 posted on 12/26/2008 7:38:58 PM PST by An Old Man
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To: combat_boots

The world is a dangerous place. It’s best to be prepared.


47 posted on 12/26/2008 7:40:41 PM PST by durasell
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To: Domandred

“Everyone spent their money on guns. I know my family did.”
We changed up Christmas this year, had an exchange so we each had only one to buy for, with the execption of the kids, and told everyone to bulk up food and ammo wise.


48 posted on 12/26/2008 7:42:06 PM PST by AirForceMom (Merry Christmas to all and may God Bless our troops and the USA)
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To: yawningotter
It was funny watching one of the local TV stations talking about how packed one local shopping center was, but the video that accompanied the story showed only a handful of people walking around. I used to work out there, and I know what it looks like packed, and today was just another day. Of course, maybe all of the shoppers were over in the hood buying 0bama stuff.

Did anyone catch NBC Nightly News tonight? The Droidette was in the mall droning about the bad holiday sales when a big old sistah walked behind her with her middle finger up and towards the camera.

Gotta love Tivo.

49 posted on 12/26/2008 7:42:12 PM PST by SnuffaBolshevik
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To: combat_boots

We all know we are in the eye of this financial storm...


According to every credible source I’ve read, we’re barely out of the starting gate.


50 posted on 12/26/2008 7:42:17 PM PST by durasell
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