Blog: Leonie BarrieAppalling October sales

Leonie Barrie | 7 November 2008

US consumers focused on ‘need and value’ in their purchases in October, which translated into necessities like food and fuel and meant more bad news for apparel and footwear retailers.

Continuing economic turmoil, the global financial fallout from mid-September onwards, and tightening credit markets led to a dramatic drop-off in consumer traffic and spending – and points to an even gloomier outlook for the upcoming holiday season. Even the mild weather in many areas worked against retailers trying to shift cold-weather autumn merchandise like coats and knitwear.

Luxury stores, mall-based specialty apparel stores and department stores continue to be the hardest hit, while discount retailers like Wal-Mart Stores are among the few beneficiaries as some shoppers’ focus on the value message and others trade down from its more expensive rivals.

Many customers, it seems, simply decided to stay away from the stores altogether.

Thanksgiving weekend later this month should mark the start of the holiday shopping frenzy, but with many retailers having already resorted to discounts and sales to spur early buying this likely sets the tone for the rest of the season.

Some pundits are suggesting a retail recovery is unlikely until at least the second half of next year.


US: Retailers' October 2008 sales roundup


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