Here in Los Angeles, retailers are getting pummeled.
While I have no hard data, I have intuitive data. That data (my eyes) suggests retail is in the toilet here in LA.
The telltale signs?
- You can get a parking spot at Westfield’s Century City Mall, no problem – and that’s a first during the holidays
- Houston’s restaurant has no wait (and in fact has open tables) at 1pm on a Saturday
- Banana Republic has all sweaters (every single one) at 40% off plus a whole bunch of other stuff on sale and still, no shoppers
- Higher end stores that I frequently shop have sections of the store at 30-40% off. One store always gives me a 15% discount because I buy 75% of my wardrobe there so they not only are willing to give me the 30% off just about any non-sale merchandise in the store, but they’ll also give me my 15% discount on already reduced items, equating to up to 55% off.
- I had three different offers from Bloomingales, and I was ready to spend. But the store experience was tough — too much merchandise, too messy and no customer service. As a result, it was like trying to shop the racks at Marshall’s versus a department store. And let’s face it, a Michael Kors cashmere sweater at 40% off is still a $350 sweater — the quality of the product simply doesn’t justify even the discounted price.
Economists and analysts continue to talk about this game of chicken that consumers are playing with retailers, waiting until retailers roll out the really big deals before shopping. But the chicken has already crossed the road. Retailers can’t go much lower without seriously impacting the financial stability of their company.
THE REAL WORLD RETAILING TAKEAWAY
I don’t think it can get much worse for retailers.
It’s two weeks before Christmas, I’m afraid that if retailers haven’t rolled out their big guns by now, then it’s too late.
Yet consumers still aren’t spending.
I’m at a loss as any and all retail strategy has been thrown out the window this holiday season.
Let me know what you all are experiencing this holiday season and how you’re surviving against the big guys.