The economic trend for some time now has been a slow and meandering recovery. Despite improving consumer confidence numbers, a surprising first quarter GDP decline of 2.9% speaks to that uncertainty. Retail analysts and observers have a tendency to blame the weather whenever we have a bad economic quarter or when retail sales are unexpectedly sluggish, but I tend to be a little dubious of those explanations. Last winter was definitely rough enough to impact spending, but I don’t think it’s enough to explain the continued issues into the spring, which we discuss in this edition of Retail Rap.
The uninspiring economic numbers, uncertain recovery and tenuous consumer confidence might also explain some of the volatility and seemingly unusual patterns we are seeing in brand-specific performance. We may be at a point in the post-recessionary era where we have recovered “enough” that consumers are moving away from strictly value, but that the lackluster nature of the recovery is preventing a true resurgence in some mid- to higher-end brands.
In this edition of Retail Rap, I look at the hard numbers from this past June and discuss different stores you would be surprised to learn are significantly down in sales as well as stores that are surprisingly making a splash in the retail world.