Friday, April 12, 2013

Looks like he was right . . .

Readers will remember that in February, we read about a warning from Wal-Mart's vice-president of finance and logistics.  To recap:

“In case you haven’t seen a sales report these days, February MTD sales are a total disaster,” Jerry Murray, Wal-Mart’s vice president of finance and logistics, said in a Feb. 12 e-mail to other executives, referring to month-to-date sales. “The worst start to a month I have seen in my ~7 years with the company.”

Now comes this news.

Retail sales in the U.S. unexpectedly fell in March by the most in nine months as employment slowed, showing households ended the first quarter on softer footing.

. . .

Department stores and electronics dealers were among the weakest showings.

The figures may prompt economists, who are projecting consumer spending climbed in the first quarter at the fastest pace in two years, to reduce growth estimates. A pickup in hiring and bigger increases in wages will be needed to ensure any slowdown proves temporary as federal budget cuts and an increase in the payroll tax restrain the expansion.

“Households are now making those difficult choices on how to adjust spending,” said Ellen Zentner, a senior economist at Nomura Securities International Inc. in New York, who projected sales would drop. “We have no steam going into the second quarter.”

There's more at the link.

Karl Denninger cites another report giving similar numbers, and concludes:

Oh well, so much for the consumer is strong.

Can we dispense with the lies now?

(In possibly unrelated news, Mr. Murray left Wal-Mart last week.  Go figure.)



trailbee said...

When Wal-Mart admits sales are down, they are down. It's just not good business to put it in print. Had my oil changed at WM Wed., and the store/parking lot was empty, there were no cars in the bay, my car was done in ten minutes.
The store was noticeably quiet, even the employees appeared subdued, no rah rah stuff, and even the loudspeaker wasn't loud. Our trips to WM were cut by 2/3s in the last two years. So were our trips everywhere. You won't believe what Stockton streets look like - almost the calm before the storm.
I'm not sure, but I'm thinking that people are finally beginning to get it - their lives are about to change big time, and all because they were so self-absorbed and stubborn. I'm certain they'll find a credible justification for their stupidity.

Old NFO said...

Yep, as Wal-Mart goes, so goes the economy...