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December's Echo

Thursday, January 15

More shakeout from December retail business (click headline to read story):

Saks, as previously noted, is one of the company's in BIG trouble. Along with cutting 1100 jobs (most of which I cannot imagine coming from New York, where the company is strongest), the company plans to reduce inventory by 20%, has decided to close it's Club Libby Lu chain entirely and suspended a number of benefits to employees.

Let me be the first to say, it won't be enough. Print it.

Macy's is planning to cut their four regional offices down to two, eliminating Miami and Atlanta, with New York and San Francisco remaining.

As I stated last month after their announcement of 11 store closings, this is still the tip of the iceberg. I foresee lots more trimming in the near future, as the longer they wait, the more severe the measures needed to right the ship.

Not all my prognostications for the Retail Sector were negative for the Holiday Season.

A 9% increase for December year-over-year, and 19% increase YTD 2008! 

That is a "roar", if ever I heard one.

The revenue for the industry also was over $5 BILLION for the month for the 1st time in history.

As stated in November, the value to cost ratio for gaming has no rival, with $30-$60 games providing, literally, weeks of entertainment.

Look for this win streak to continue.

Lastly, while most retailers are still refusing to fully face the realities of the new economy, one (the same as always) retailer stands above all the rest in how they are dealing with the downturn, Walmart.

Love 'em or hate 'em, Walmart may not be the prettiest girl in the class, but there can be no doubt they are valedictorian. 

Lee Scott was on Charlie Rose yesterday, in what I think is a must see interview. He discussed the impact the economy is having on Small Businesses and suppliers, which has not been discussed with the degree of specificity Mr. Scott shared. 

As they move forward, the focus at their stores will be continued improvement in customer service (he said this is not a slogan, but a actual goal), a better edited buying selection (less is more in his eyes, which is sooooo smart) and better presentation standards (thus making the store easier to shop for the consumer).

Three simple goals, which will translate into a big win for the world's biggest retailer. 

Not sexy, just smart. A formula to emulate if ever there was one.



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