The Last Hoorah For Retailers

black friday retail salesAt this point, just from a general consensus I've taken, it seems that many clearly feel that the worst of the recession is behind us and we are beginning the roads to recovery. As I do not agree with that, there is one thing that is certain. Retailers around the country are hoping that Santa Clause packs his bag full of gifts, because for many, this holiday season could be the last chance for survival.

For many retailers, over 30% of their annual business is done in the next two months. It is the wonderful holiday season where everyone is in the spirit of giving...and buying. However, this year will be a unique year for the consumer and may not be the saving holiday season that many companies are hoping for. I have heard from several businesses that if holiday sales are not showing a strong rebound trend, most likely they will be closing the doors next year.

There are some goods. Banks have been very cooperative with consumers in regards to loan work outs. Even for those unable to work out their loan, they are most likely able to remain in their house from 6-24 months without a payment before the bank finally sends their notice to vacate. As a result, this may free up some extra disposable income for consumers looking spend.

Also, residential refinancing options still remain available for a rather aggressive rate. Many are taking advantage of refinancing their home and locking in a 5% or better 30 year loans, which frees up some cash.

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The problems are that we have seen a spike in the savings rate of consumers. Record jumps in the savings rate are continuing to take place as people are hoarding their money rather than wasteful spending. On top of that, credit has tightened up. Not only have maximum borrowing balances been significantly reduced, but credit card interest rates have spiked out the roof. Consumers are trying to minimizing the swiping of plastic, which is usually a big bulk of holiday spending.

Last year, the holiday season was a dreary one. For many businesses, another like it would force the doors to close. Sentiment remains the exact opposite to what was felt last year. Although our economic conditions seem worse at the time being, many people's perception of the future was a dark, dangerous one. Now, most seem to be chippy, believing that the worst is over and sunny days are ahead of us.

Retailers are the big gamble at this point and could reap some big returns depending which side wins out. If indeed this Christmas is a merry one, expect retailers like Best Buy, Nordstrom, Payless Shoes to go off. However, if sales come in at low levels, I would expect to see some big selling pressure on many of the big retailers. Black Friday will give us a good read of what to expect. I personally feel that Black Friday may not be that bad off, as many consumers have now become "discount shoppers. Happy Trading.


  1. Anonymous Says:

    What's your immediate term (end of Dec), short term (Jan-Mar), and long term (to Dec 2010) outlook for the S&P?


    Excellent stories on companies.