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Monday, November 19, 2012

Howard!!!

If it's the Season of Bling, we must watch for Howard. He's so great.

Comments:
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Anecdotal evidence: I was in our local Target this weekend. Not many customers. But what was even more depressing was that the shelves were not well stocked. Coming up on Black Friday and their inventory is low? Does not look good to me. I think Howard is right. The retailers are desperate.

I can't help much. My buying plans are quite modest. We have medical issues going on, and as they say, consumers are tapped out. Yep!
 
Jimmy - I am very sorry about the medical issues. You and your wife will have my prayers.

I wouldn't worry about not buying out the store as a Hero of the American Consumer Revolution. If we are really relying on the consumption of the later 70s and up crowd, we're doomed anyway. You might as well live rationally and enjoy the good days/hours.

Light stocking at the rural/outer suburban Targets was one of the things I noticed in the runup to the late great unpleasantness. Your comment just evoked a highly unpleasant flashback.

Oh well, what goes around comes around.
 
Tahnks for the paryers, MOM. Much appreciated.

"Light stocking at the rural/outer suburban Targets was one of the things I noticed in the runup to the late great unpleasantness."

I was wondering if that rang a bell with anyone else. It is to weep.
 
Arrgh! I meant, "Thanks for the prayers...."
 
I've seen poorly-stocked Wal-Marts, too.

It's their own fault, really. On most items they've chosen the suppliers willing to take the lowest margins, and then they dumped a lot of SKU's in the last couple years. The suppliers that remain have had to absorb so many costs that their productivity has declined. And these retailers are not going to get their old vendors to come back.
 
I'm not sure about "thinventory" observations. You'll have to go back after Turkey Day to confirm. The Fry's Electronics store has big gaping holes in their shelves as well but it looks to be more pre-positioning for sales inventory.

So far we have identified one item; a new blender. The one we got from Mrs Dawg's grandmother when she passed in the 70s finally died. B&D brand at Kohls for $9.99 with glass receptacle. I feel so unamerican.
 
"Light stocking at the rural/outer suburban Targets was one of the things I noticed in the runup to the late great unpleasantness. Your comment just evoked a highly unpleasant flashback. "

I've been warning about thinventory for months. Everyone along the supply chain has their finger over the big red button twitching at the first hint of a slowdown. Getting caught with product last time was fatal to many and near fatal to these survivors. Dryfly has already mentioned that it took less than two quarters to go from backlogged not taking orders to cutbacks in primary manufacturing.
 
Haven't noticed as I avoid most stores to keep from spending money I don't have. I'd guess that higher food prices will put a crimp in what people have to spend for the holidays.
 
Well another observation from the trenches. In my local neck of the woods there is a small gun shop that is the outlet for a regional distributer that has an annual sale on the Tuesday and Wed proceeding Thanksgiving. This sale is legendary among the gun owning crowd in the surrounding three counties and there is generally a line out the door to take advantage of the deals. In years past these deals have been quite good and the quantities of material for sale quite large.

This year there were not many deals, indeed on some of their “rifles of color”(AR-15 types) they had the same prices as they had listed the prior week. The items that had displayed were by no means great deals and the stock quite limited. Nor were there a lot of customers, at least at 3 PM, when in years past the store has still been full. According to the sales chap, the turn out had been very disappointing. In deed the only folks there were the ruffian from the local city, many of whom would not be able to pass a background check, or one supposes by their appearances.

So in one area of male discretionary spending, it seems that the public is not opening their wallets

 
I spend a lot of time in Best Buy and Target stores. Best Buy is in the beginning of serious revamping to emphasize service. The Twin Cities stores, close to HQ, have been remodeled extensively to reflect this. There are many fewer SKUs, more open space. There are also skylights, and the store's lights go out if there's enough sunshine coming in.

I haven't noticed the lighter stocking at Target, also headquartered here. But they're selling a lot more TVs. That has hurt Best Buy, as has the "showrooming" phenomenon in general.

BBY had a bad third quarter. Target had a good one. Best Buy is also in the midst of a battle between the current board and the founder to decide who will run things. The founder, Dick Schultz, and his hand-picked successors did fail to anticipate how the internet would impact sales. Of course, Schultz is also the guy who successfully steered the company through several crises to become the dominant national chain. Perhaps he can do it again.
 
Rob - we're all gun-shy, yeah.

You can see it even in refined petroleum product inventories and supplies. Everyone's afraid of being caught this time.

The manufacturing slowdown has moved farther and faster than I would have anticipated in this cycle, but I'm guessing pieces of it are over. We'll see.

Gordon - I think the point about light stocking in Target is that Target HAS been doing well. There was severe light stocking at BB early in the year due to their problems, but that could safely be attributed to a chain issue rather than just an economic slowdown. Okay, well the slow market for electronics has hurt an awful lot of enterprises and even countries, but you get my general drift.
 
"Rob - we're all gun-shy, yeah.
...
The manufacturing slowdown has moved farther and faster than I would have anticipated in this cycle, but I'm guessing pieces of it are over. We'll see."

A lot of the recovery was buyers double ordering to cover their thinventory supply chain bet. When you run thin you reduce product in process and over order to cover gaps. Cheaper to cancel even in the rare case of penalties from stretched primary manufacturers than get caught fat.

Still, holiday retail sales will come in 5% higher than 2011. Why? Easy, inflation and 10% more shopping days this year between T & C.
 
So in other words a 5% bump in "holiday sales" is actually meaningless since some of those sales have nothing to do with the holiday and everything to do with there being 10% more days.

Thanks for the heads up!
 
Rob - I agree. Less than 4.5% + seems impossible, but it is really equivalent more to +2.5%.
 
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