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Mall is Quiet
#1
Now I certainly don't believe in extrapolating too much from anecdote, but I work right next to a pretty big mall, and I've got to say it has been pretty durned quiet this shopping season. Sure, it is busier than in June, say, but relative to years past, it is really quiet. The food court lady that I talk with regularly says it has been a dismal holiday season this year, and is worried because they haven't yet made the excess that they usually count on to get them through the rest of the winter.

Anyway, just for what it is worth. Think it is a localized phenomenon? Or maybe everyone is just shopping online now. What are others observing this season?
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#2
Seasonal shopping, we probably made 3/4 of our under the tree purchases on line. Though for seasonal food items and stocking stuffers, very little of that is via on line. Holiday shopping in Columbia SC has appeared brisk but maybe a little below peak years. Also, sales have been much steeper, so I'm wondering if the Christmas margins will be up to most years. One analyst was saying that after Christmas sales will be among the deepest discounts ever this year. If so, sounds like margins may totally be sacrificed, in order to get cash flow to fund 2014 inventory.
Alex
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#3
Mall seemed pretty busy in South Dakota as did most of the other retailers around town.
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#4
From what I've read, the oil and gas boom up in your region has basically prevented any contraction. Just did a quick search which shows unemployment in the Dakotas at 3% or under. Here in S.C. we are 7.1%, in line with most of the rest of the country.
Alex
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#5
(12-23-2013, 09:54 AM)hendi_alex Wrote: From what I've read, the oil and gas boom up in your region has basically prevented any contraction. Just did a quick search which shows unemployment in the Dakotas at 3% or under. Here in S.C. we are 7.1%, in line with most of the rest of the country.

Yeah I suppose we aren't very representative of the rest of the country. More job listings than qualified people to fill them around here.
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#6
This article seems relevant -- I came across it in deciding to pull the trigger on a few TGT shares this morning.

It suggests that the season has been slow, but they expectations are for more shopping than usual after Xmas this year. Also notes the effect of online sales.
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#7
We bought 90% of our holiday gifts online this year.
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#8
My wife is a florist. This is the 3rd largest, and most prolonged, selling season for flowers. Holiday flower & plant sales are down 20% from last year. However, funerals made up for it for a 14% sales gain.

Malls around here have been slower than usual.

However, UPS and FedEx delivery guys that deliver to my office say they were working until 8 or 9 every night and all weekend.

Mom & Pop stores in our chamber of commerce have been complaining of a slow Christmas.

I Christmas shopped on the 22nd & 23rd at about 10pm at Walmart & T.J. Maxx around here and the stores were dead.

Take that for what it's worth.
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How do they get the deer to cross at that yellow road sign?

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#9
MY wife, mother-in-law and grandmother are out today to do some hard core shopping. I think on-line purchases are increasing--in my opinion (N=1)--simply because it allows you to get exactly what you want. I know what I wanted to get my brother, and could get exactly what I wanted on line. Retail is, I feel, rapidly becoming the place for buying for those people who don't know what to get. I further think this will translate into larger dollar items being bought on-line, and slipper and PJ's being bought retail.

Of course, the problem with on-line is you have to know what you want before you buy or you kill yourself with back and forth returns for wrong size, wrong color, etc. I often want cloths I see on-line, but rely buy as fir is an issue. Just returning today a vest marked XL that is clearly a small...

Ronn
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#10
Do you think that this trend means that core retail DG holdings like WMT and TGT are going to fare poorly in the coming decade? I personally have moved a ton of my shopping online. I get a lot of stuff using Amazon's "subscribe and save" program that I used to buy at Target.
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