A dollar for a 40-ounce bottle of ketchup? Yawn. Four bucks for a 12-pack of Coke? No sale.
Even deep discounts on everyday items don't seem to be enough to get Walmart shoppers to bite these days, and other chains are worried Americans won't be in the mood to spend in the months ahead, which are critical for those companies.
On Tuesday, quarterly financial results from retailers including Home Depot and Abercrombie & Fitch showed that profits are rising because retailers are cutting costs and keeping their inventories lean....
I can only add that prosperity here is not merely a matter of sales volume, but profit per sale. You can sell 15 million widgets, yet still go out of business if you can't make enough to cover expenses. And I must wonder how much they continue to make on consumer credit.
Recall the heavy reliance of many retailers upon winter sales. Imagine what a disaster it would be for them if enough folks actually heeded what some of us say (versus Charles Dickens) about Christ-mass! Note well, such a disaster would only be temporary, for the money saved would be spent on other things (Opportunity Cost, q.v.).
I shopped at Wal-Mart recently. I rarely go there, and I immediately noticed that they simply have much less inventory than they used to. That might be why people are buying less. There is much less to buy at Wal-Mart after their latest remodeling effort.
Also, when you see a story like this, look at the stores they name. Home Depot? Can't compete with Lowe's on selection, and if you're going to buy cheap Chinese tools, go to Harbor Freight. TJ Maxx? Saks? (I've never even seen a Saks.) Abercrombie & Fitch? These stores are not driving the economy.
I'm surprised that JC Penny is not mentioned in this article. That's a first. JC Penny is the poster child store for blaming the economy, weather, etc for not making its numbers.