By now you’ve heard about the July retail numbers and that it was the worst showing in five months, even when stripping out the poor showing of the automobile sector (the worst in 16 years).
You can read it about in an article on cnn.com.
The fact that sales were the worst in five months, coupled with the fact that July was the last month for mailing stimulus checks raised concerns among analysts.
With back-to-school in full swing, retailers have reason to be concerned, given that July numbers were so low, and with the back-to-school selling season starting earlier than ever.
In Los Angeles, my real estate agent friends are predicting the housing slump here won’t bottom out for another 12 months. That’s pretty scary stuff, which will only drag the economy down for the foreseeable future.
THE REAL WORLD RETAILING TAKEAWAY
When the alarm bell is ringing, you have to listen.
Only time can save this economic situation we’re in. No amount of stimulus checks or government intervention is going to get us out of the mess we’re in.
And no amount of offers, giveaways, coupons, events, etc. is going to stimulate people to shop, to browse, to buy.
I’m not advocating resignation. But I am advocating a prudent approach to trying to drive traffic and sales. Make sure that you can measure everything you do. And only repeat the kinds of things that are driving traffic. Otherwise you’re just wasting time and money. This is the year that profits are going to be down anyway. Don’t give away more than you have to.