I have no sympathy for the Big Three automakers. All of them have put out mediocre products for decades and now their CEOs have the gall to fly down to Washington in their private jets and ask for a handout!
After the first weekend of the big shopping season, I’ve lost any sympathy I may have had for retailers as well, but there I was standing on line waiting 20 minutes because only two cash registers were open in one discount store.
After that, I headed over to big box electronic place and was told that one of the most popular video systems was already out of stock. When I found it at competitor’s store down the highway, I had to wait several minutes while the sales staff exchanged stories about how they spent their Thanksgiving, while a line of customers began to build at the checkout.
Years ago, Leonard Lauder bemoaned the department store retail scene. He pointed out that there was no experience for the shopper and that retailers lacked innovative ideas to get consumers to visit their stores. Seems like things are getting worse instead of better. The current economic downturn is sure to lead some weak retailers into bankruptcy.
Believe it or not, however, the economy may be on its way to recovery. Today, the National Bureau of Economic Research announced that the U.S. entered a recession in December 2007. If history repeats itself, that means the economy is probably on its way back. Most analysts are predicting anemic 2.8% growth on holiday sales. When all the numbers are in, I’ll bet Holiday 2008 does much better than that.