I make it a practice not to attempt to interpret the comp-store sales in February and July. This is due to the lack of reasons for the consumer to buy in these months and the effect of clearance liquidation on sales. The observations I will make about current trends reflects my observations from a tour of stores I made last week.
There is little doubt that current economic factors are affecting some consumers. However, the results of many retailers are being influenced to a greater degree by the content of their inventory. A number of very prominent retailers have simply forgotten who their core customers are and what those customers expect from them. They are aggressively attempting to imitate another retailer or trying to change their customers’ taste level. In all the years I have been in retail, I have never seen this strategy work, and I doubt it will now.
Those retailers that have stayed “in-focus,” featured in the chart, are prospering and appear to have elected not to participate in the economic downturn. My expectations for August are that these in-focus retailers will continue to produce excellent results. Other retailers will talk about how the faltering economy is affecting their sales.
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Robert Gordman is the president of The Gordman Group, Breckinridge, Colo., and is the author of “Secrets of the Super Sweet Spot.”