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
Undoubtedly you'll agree with this. We read and hear a lot in the business press, but we treat 100% of it rather skeptically.
And so it is with articles and commentary about this coming Holiday Season, specifically about retailers' inventory and margins.
Nevertheless, there is considerable good news being trumpeted. Most recently, this feature article in the Wall Street Journal: "Retailers Hone Inventory for Holidays" *
As the Holiday Season approaches, finding good help promises to be especially challenging for retailers this year.
Then, we read "10 Things to Know to Get And Keep Retail Jobs," a to-the-point commentary from Bob Phibbs*, who specializes in retail sales training.
Here are his Top Ten recommendations for prospective retail employees:
Each year at this time, our thoughts turn to turkeys.
No, not the ones that will adorn many dining tables on Thursday. But the "turkeys" lurking amidst your inventory. You know; non-selling, distressed, slow-moving, old, unappealing leftovers among your merchandise.
But this year, frankly, our worries extend beyond the turkeys.
Here are some of the reasons why.
As a result, in this environment, consumers are scaling back their discretionary purchases, and/or choosing to spend on travel, dining out, or other experiences versus retail merchandise.
Not an upbeat prospect for retailers, is it?
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!
That headline from Chain Store Age* brings smiles to retailers.
Consumer confidence is a key indicator of retail sales, and this increasing confidence as we head into the holiday season is very welcome indeed.
But of course, there is no one-size-fits-all upside here.
Still less than $1 a day! 👀