ICYMI. You know, that's the shorthand for In Case You Missed It. And in fact, we had missed this.
As reported by Chain Store Age*, "The Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence Index rose slightly to 107.2 in March, up from 105.7 in February. It was the first time the metric has increased in three months."
Wow! Is that ever a stray ray of sunshine! We always look to Consumer Confidence levels as a leading indicator for retailers.
But those two facts go a long way toward explaining why consumer confidence would be trending up. People have jobs, many have received wage increases, Meanwhile, Covid is receding from our daily attention, and spring is in the air.
Yes, restraint is advised. According to Lynn Franco, senior director of economics indicators at The Conference Board, "These headwinds are expected to persist in the short term and may potentially dampen confidence as well as cool spending further in the months ahead.”
But, true to our retail roots, let's keep focused on the positive! Especially, keep the focus on the particular communities where your stores operate. Whatever the mood is there is what matters to you, of course.
But wait! Did you really know this? "Consumer confidence rises for first time this year." Hooray!
* Marianne Wilson, Editor-in-Chief, Chain Store Age, 3/29/2022
Let's assume your stores have been closed for weeks now.
We recognize how conscientious you are. So, after paying what you can to your employees (and yourself), the next most-worrisome dilemma is your rent.
As you likely have discovered, a common choice for many landlords is to offer to defer your payments. But that means taking on more debt, as those payments are only being postponed to a later point in time.
You need a better solution than that.
There’s an awareness, an “Oh wow!” sweeping around the commercial world. It’s stated in a variety of ways, but it’s the same surprise.
Indeed, some respected urban thinkers are suggesting that 50% of the traditional commuters may want to and will be encouraged to continue to work remotely. 50%?! Yikes. That’s quite a redirection of the parade!
Another real challenge of 2021 is rearing its head: Whatever you used to do in terms of managing your staff likely will not work this year.
In the aftermath of the pandemics, lockdowns, stimulus payments, low unemployment, and minimum wage increases, finding and keeping good employees is even more daunting for independent retailers.
Remember thinking that Amazon was the most disruptive force to happen to retailing? (Well, at least since Walmart was the most disruptive....)
However, the coronavirus pandemic eclipses them all. No matter where you live or do business, it is not whether, just when, COVID-19 will impact your life. Disruption with a capital D!
Like every natural disaster, whether a massive storm, earthquake, wildfire, we all are victims of COVID-19.
Not all of us have suffered being infected by the virus. But, essentially everybody has suffered losses.
Few have been spared.
There are three "pandemics" assailing us at the moment: the coronavirus; the economic collapse; the protests of racial injustice. The three months plus of stay at home restrictions and the shutdowns, and the confluence of these three pandemics has been a heavy burden. And it shows no signs of going away anytime soon.
As the coronavirus continues to spread and surge (Apple re-closing 11 stores they had recently re-opened is a sobering reminder), the uncertainty and anxiety is only being prolonged.
Still less than $1 a day! 👀