Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Just long enough....

So much for there not being a winter in Bend.

I've had more Bend business owners than ever before volunteer that it's slow. Unusual that they mention it at all, but there is enough evidence out there that maybe they don't feel like they're alone.

14 building permits in December in Bend. 14.

Went to see Transporter 3. Linda's comment: "You don't suppose that's his real body, do you?"

"No, honey. I'm pretty sure it's all special effects."

My wife first pointed out to me that when you see a national chain advertising on a local channel, it means they're on their way here. Except, it seemed, for Olive Garden, which has been advertising for several years. I guess they were just planning for the future.

This weather always reminds me that most Bendites have been here for five minutes.
Either they drive as if they've never seen snow before and are frightened to death, or they drive as if they've never seen snow before and don't know that a big SUV won't keep you from sliding. I leave as much space between cars as I can manage.

Who would've thought Mickey Rourke would become a deep and moving actor?

From Business Wire, a confirmation of my prediction that stores will be losing sales to lack of inventory:

As if retailers did not have enough problems attracting consumers in a weak economic environment, a new research study from IHL Group says that retailers lose sales of at least one item to as many as 20% of consumers coming into their stores – leading many consumers to quit shopping with the retailer altogether.

Consumer Electronics stores are losing the most, with consumers saying that they leave the store without buying at least one item 21.2% of the time. Or put another way, these retailers are losing $1.35 for every customer that comes into their stores due to their level of out-of-stocks. Likewise, Warehouse Clubs lose $1.78 and Grocery stores lose $.68 in sales for every customer when consumers cannot buy that product or an adequate substitute. . . .

I can't believe how many specific requests for product I'm getting. Stuff I wouldn't carry in the best of times, most of them. Others I might consider selling if times were better.
Most require a full inventory to sell the one item to the one customer, and that's the real problem.

As I've said before, I think it will end up driving even more people to the internet. You just can't gauge the real demand for an item by how many requests you get, sadly. You may get ten requests, order a hundred items, and sell five. Or you may get no requests, order twenty items and sell ten. In other words, there may be a few very fervent buyers, but that's it.

Calculated Risk is the only financial blog out there that consistently reports on Commercial Real Estate: and it's reports are pretty dire. Here's where I will probably defy expectations in my prediction: Yes, I think sales will be dire for the first six months next year; yes, I believe the slowdown will last a couple years or more. But, no, I don't think we'll have huge vacancies and shuttered doorfronts. Because so many of the businesses in Bend are new, I predict most of them will bridge that gap between the housing bust and the recovery of the national economy. They may be losing money the whole time, but in my opinion most businesses can last at least 2 or 3 years. Just long enough.


Duncan McGeary said...
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