Thursday, November 20, 2008

Black September?

Beginning with September, changes in consumer spending have created the most difficult retail environment we have ever seen,” Hastings CEO John Marmaduke.

“Never in all my years as a bookseller have I seen a retail climate as poor as the one we are in,” Barnes and Noble, CEO John Riggio.

“Since mid-September, rapid, seismic changes in consumer behavior have created the most difficult climate we've ever seen," Best Buy Chief Executive Brad Anderson.

Hey, these are the winners in the Category Killers world: Best Buy vs. Circuit City:
Barnes and Noble vs. Borders.

I've been kind of commenting to my customers that I thought when the dust settled, that September 2008 would be recorded as a historic drop. I'll go ahead and call it. Black September.

***(POSTSCRIPT: Added Nov. 25, 08: Results for the quarter were clearly disappointing. We faced dramatic macroeconomic headwinds, and as a result we experienced our weakest comparable store sales in many years.” Books-a-Million, CEO Sandra Cochran.


RDC said...

Only the October was worse than September, so if it is Black September it is Blacker October.

Note that the timing coincides with the Lehman. Imagine what we would be looking like if Bear Sterns, AIG, etc. had been allowed to go BK as well. When this is all past letting Lehman go BK will probably be recorded as one of the bigger policy mistakes.

Duncan McGeary said...

Blacker October?

I like that.

But October was really just a fulfillment of the trend begun in Sept.

It's that first step that can kill you. The second step may be worse, but you're already tumbling. By focusing on how bad October is, we lose sight of how bad Sept. (and Nov.) were.

By the way, I had my first down month in five years last August, just as Bear Stearns hit.

Not late in the year, or early 2008. Last half of August, 2007

Quimby said...

rdc>> When this is all past letting Lehman go BK will probably be recorded as one of the bigger policy mistakes.

What? Your logic is that if we would have run the presses more and bailed out Lehman, then our consumer machine would have continued AOK and we wouldn't have seen this retail crash? Folks is broke! Has nothing to do with the BK of the beloved banksters.

Yeah, I'm all for giving more bailouts with at the expense of much higher tax rates to keep Best Buy et al in business. :eyesrolling:

RDC, where is your sense of personal responsibility? You're talking like a socialist.

RDC said...

No the collapse of Lehman was the trigger for the credit freeze. It basically did three things. It locked up 660 billion of Lehman assets, it let people know that such institutions might be allowed to fail and it triggered a larger number of credit default swaps that hit the books on a number of other institutions.

RDC said...

Now if they had been kept from BK that would not have prevented all of the pain, but it would have prevented the extreme sudden shock that occured in September. It would have delayed the collapse of AIG and mitigated the severity and would have greatly reduced the amount of credit default swap payouts triggered by it failure.

I believe on of the main reasons the Administration asked for 700 billion for the Tarp is due to the level of the Lehman default (660 billion).

Quimby said...

You see, what I have a problem with is that everyone is operating under the assumption that X company is too big to fail and will get bailed out. It's essentially a rigged game.

Any financially conservative soul knows this market is a mess and is OUT of it.

Let the chips fall where they lay and hold those responsible....well responsible.

I must admit, this is all nice high-level easy talk and the actual follow through of it would be extrememly painful for most individuals. Then again, I've always been for tough love vs. coddling.