Sunday, November 30, 2008

Economic Barometer

For the first time in years, I've been out shopping - albeit briefly - on Black Friday, as well as the Saturday and Sunday after Thanksgiving.

All three days made me concerned for the economic outlook this holiday season.

I know everyone's been reading the same articles I have, how retailers are going to slash prices like crazy the closer the holiday gets.

But still... I'd expect some crowds in the largest shopping mall on the East Coast. It was laughable, the paltry number of people I saw out shopping.

The sales associates at Nordstrom? Bored to tears.

Kate Spade? They could vacuum the place and nobody would have minded.

Cole Haan, where they had a big "30% off everything in the store" sign beckoning? The saleswoman looked ready to cry.

And it's not just the higher-end stores that were feeling the pinch - JCPenney was a ghost town.

Even JCrew, which on a normal Saturday has 5 or 6 people waiting to make purchases, had a fast-moving line - full of people with returns.

When you can go to a Best Buy store at any time on Black Friday and there's no line - I mean, zero people waiting - something is wrong.

This does not bode well, people. It's going to be self-perpetuating problem - if we buy nothing, the economy will stagnate.


Kitty said...

wow. I had no idea.

There were shoppers here this weekend, though I'm not sure how much was actually purchased. Plus, many shoppers were people visiting from other lands.

I went to the shoe store DSW, a couple weeks ago and it was a mad house, which was probably a reaction to the change in weather.

I'm really wondering what will happen and I'm rather nervous. Hope you are well, Spandrel!

Spandrel Studios said...

Others I know were out and about on Black Friday and saw more crowds than I did. Guess I just had really good timing!

Despite my own experience, it sounds like the economic impact of Black Friday was better than last year, when the results came in, at least.

I am doing pretty well - extraordinarily busy at work, hence the lack of posts, but I think that's a good thing, in this economy, at least.

Hope you're well, too, Kitty!