Retailers are generally very talented, conscientious and well-meaning. But they're also human. And that can cause problems. Especially in an environment like we have today, the darn distractions keep coming. Amazon's growth imperative is insatiable and unrelenting Disneyland-on-the-Potomac is a daily consuming soap opera Low unemployment makes H.R. work a never-ending struggle A new tax law will affect what? Who? And how? As America's standing in the world erodes, how will the next generation be affected? And wow! In early February, the stock market took a nose dive! On and on; the distractions do not subside. So what is a smart retailer to do? 'Look son; I know she's cute. But keep your eyes on the road!!' For retailers, that 'road' to keep an eye on is consumer confidence. Just watch it carefully. And, especially with your own best customers : Have IPTs (items per transaction) stayed the same, or dropped? Have margins started to erode for no apparent reason? Have you seen a greater reluctance to buy top-of-the-line merchandise? These kinds of indicators are 'the road.' All the distractions may be interesting; but they are not significant! 'Son, don't be like some other kids and be distracted. 'Lots of people will be relying on your ability to always watch the road.'