Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Evil Genius.

John Stanley, Woody Woodpecker, @1947

"Everything is working out perfectly..."

Well, not exactly. I added new books and games so that my sales would go up, not so they would simply replace the sales I'm losing in other parts of the store.

Still, it's a good thing I did it, huh?

Yesterday was interesting. I counted 7 parking spots at mid-afternoon, and 5 parking spots later on, outside my store. But I also did a customer count (something I haven't been doing for awhile) and that came to over 100 visitors, which for a Tuesday is a high number. On the other hand, the per customer total was terribly low, until one of my last customers (from Wyoming) spent a bundle.

Hard to read the tea leaves, but here it is.

It feels slow to me. My sales this month is going to be very close to last year, but I also let loose the purse strings, so my profits will probably actually be down. Last year, August was my first down month, so now the comparisons will be with months that were down instead of up. May even begin beating last year, here and there.

Meanwhile, all the houses for sale in my neighborhood are still for sale. What are you seeing?

Hearing all kinds of rumors about more restaurants closing; that couldn't have been more predictable, could it? Did a drive around on 3rd Street before work yesterday. Pro Image just opened a SECOND shop, this one specializing in hats. Hmmmmm. Have the hat place across the street from me, so obviously that's a sub-culture that I'm not familiar with. Always reminds me of when people come into my store and I'm selling the hell out of something and they ask, "Do people really buy that?" Uh, yes.

Damn we have a bunch of new department stores and furniture stores. Would seem to be lousy timing. Kohl's, for instance. Figure all these were in the works when the economy went south. Wondering if any other new projects will actually break ground.

Parking garage still seems suspiciously sparse at night.

Still, both Linda and my store are doing O.K., so I'm not sure what to think.

I have a saying, If my store is slow, in six months I'll find out everyone else was even slower.

Next spring will be an interesting time in Bend. If we keep muddling through like we have been, we may just escape the worst. could easily be the beginning of a two or three year slide.

Here's what we don't know. We don't know how much of the vaunted 'equity' money is still floating around. We don't know how much resilience there is in these families; and whether when it comes to the crunch, they will they make the necessary adjustments. Survival instinct will kick in. Most people will find to their surprise that they don't need as much as they thought.

This has just started. So, we'll probably muddle through. Everyone will just cut back.

For myself, I just need to keep concentrating on keeping down the debt and building up the reserves.

1 comment:

RDC said...

Keep in mind that the drop in a down market in retail is usually in the form of small gradual declines, not big drops (death by bleeding from a thousand small cuts, instead of being beheaded).

As such what you are seeing is pretty much expected. The good news is that you are expecting it, seeing it, and planning for it, a lot of other retailers are probably missing all three.

I would say that it is not so much as bad timing for Kohl's as much as it is for their competition. As long as the chain itself is relatively healthy the new store is in a good place to out last and pick up market share from is smaller competition. I would expect failures in that area.