It’s not even Black Friday yet and already we’re hearing about holiday shopping buying guides and retail sales numbers. Just as the date Christmas music gets played on the radio starts creeping sooner every year, the dilemma of what the hell retailers will put on their shelves becomes a bigger issue each season.
Then mix into that frothy disaster pit of expectation the horrible state of the stock market, economy, and unemployment rate and you’ve got yourself one big recipe for disaster.
Even Walmart is taking the necessary precautions. Walmart, the only company in the Dow Jones Industrial Average that is in positive territory on the year is making some major changes. CEO and President for the past 9 years, Lee Scott, is stepping down and retiring. It was announced today that Mike Duke, former senior international executive, will be taking over starting in February.
I’m imagining when ‘The Duke’ arrives at Walmart HQ in February, it’ll go something like this:
and then of course, there will be some "management retraining":
Welcome to the fray Mr. Duke, looking forward to seeing your smiling face getting boycotted by environmental and wage groups (hippies) across the country, while at the same time impressing the pants off shareholders. In this economic downturn, Walmart has prided itself on continuing to cut prices and becoming basically the only place regular people can afford to shop. Hooray!
However, there is one group that doesn’t give a crap about how bad things are out there. They’re buying stuff! It’s everyone’s favorite demographic… young men!
According to Keith Richman, our CEO here at Break Media (which owns WSF):
"Young men appear to be more afraid of offending their parents, girlfriends, or spouses than of going into even more debt. Their love affair with the latest smart phone, video games and other gadget will continue to drive their spending this holiday season."
In a survey conducted by Break, they found that 70% of these guys plan on spending the same amount or more this holiday season compared to the last. 90% say it won’t be a problem for them to afford the shopping bill, and at least 40% saying they will spend in excess of $250. Those are some pretty solid numbers. And those sales should boost retail number in the video game, tech, and entertainment category. Look for Best Buy, GameStop and the Box Office ticket sales to do well this holiday season. (and by "well", I mean it’s all relative, so potentially break even or finish only slightly negative. Really, is this what it’s come to?)
As for everyone else, it’ll be rough.
Marketwatch: Walmart Makes Surprise CEO Announcement, November 21, 2008