Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Business as usual

Yesterday, the Conference Board, an independent research group, reported that consumer confidence has reached its lowest point since the measurement began in 1967 -- 25 points on a 100-point scale. At the same time, retailers like Macy's and Nordstrom's reported 4th quarter profit drops of 40-60 percent.

Man the War Room! Fire up the promotions engine! Let's get aggressive! Right?

Evidently, wrong.

Last week, finding myself with a couple of hours to kill between out-of-town meetings, I did what any red-blooded American girl would do: I went to the local mall. Although I wasn't looking to acquire anything in particular, I'm not afraid to brandish the plastic when the right opportunity presents itself.

It didn't.

In all but the two "anchor" department stores, I was the only customer in each shop I visited. I did received the perfunctory, "Welcome to fill-in-the-blank" when I entered, but was promptly abandoned. Aware that these are tough times for retailers -- hey, I read the paper -- I scanned the racks for the sales...the special-purchase displays...the two-fer shelves. Know what I found? Row after row of shiny new merchandise at full, start-of-the-season price. Every item in the full array of sizes, untouched. Dangling tags unmarked, and unmarked-down. The only sale prices to be found were on the ubiquitous rack at the back of the store with last season's orphans in their final gasp.

Huh-lo?? Have all the marketers been laid off? Did the CFOs lock the War Room door so the retailers couldn't get out? Has supply versus demand been redefined, and I missed it?

Sheesh, people. Let me know how it goes with those first-quarter profits.


  1. Eniko Ilyes-DeMarcoFebruary 26, 2009 at 7:57 PM

    I had that same experience right after the holidays - no clearance racks, no real bargains, no fun. But since then, I've hit the jackpot get several pairs of pants ranging $50-$80 originally for $11-$14 - SCORE BIG! I've seen quite a few other deals, but facing a very grim outlook at my company, I have simply walked right by everything but the best wardrobe investments. --sigh--

  2. Your site has won a Blog of the Day Award (BOTDA)

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  3. I haven't been to the mall lately, I'm sticking to Old Navy and Kohl's for now. Hubby works for the pixie dust inventor *wink* in marketing and they are totally stagnant with work. They are digging up the old marketing from previous years to run again in an effort to cut costs. We're totally sweating over it. "Laying Off the Tears" if you want to read about it. ps. found your site through BODA newsletter.