Lump of Coal In Retailers’ Stockings

Shop. Your country needs you!
That Bushism didn’t take us too far. According to retail sales figures from last month, people are gripping the few dollars they have left.

The nation’s retailers saw their sales plummet last month to the weakest October level since at least 1969, as the financial crisis and mounting layoffs left shoppers too scared to shop.
The stunning and rare drop, from an already weak September, is further darkening the outlook for the holiday season and raising more concerns about the financial health of the industry, which is not expected to see a recovery until at least the second half of 2009.

Could something more than fear and lack of cash be at work here?
Reveries looks to Todd Lavieri of Archstone Consulting for his read.

“Our retail and manufacturing clients are seeing almost an aversion to consumption.” Todd, whose firm tracks shopping patterns, observes that while downturns in 1991 and 2001 resulted in consumers going shopping “as therapy,” this time around it’s just the opposite. According to Todd, “people aren’t shopping to feel better. They actually are not shopping to feel better.”

Could it be that we’re now ready for the Greening of America? For smaller houses, smaller cars, public transit, staycations, gardens, canning, etc.? Yes, I think the economic conditions we’re faced with will dictate such adjustments. So it’s one part eco-consciousness and another part frugal budgeting. Whatever works…



About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.