Informal Retail Sales Survey

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SHTF's picture
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Joined: Nov 9 2008
Posts: 5
Informal Retail Sales Survey

I have a friend who works in one of the more affluent counties in USA. She works part time and for the past couple months her employer has been significantly cutting back her hours. I started this week asking sales people in retails stores how business is doing. Only had a chance to ask at two places so far and they both said it has been terrible, and sales are down a lot from last year.  Perhaps the folks here can start doing the same thing? Ask the sales clerk when you go shopping how sales are doing and then report here with the name and location. (Put a plus in front for rising sales and a minus for falling sales.) Would be interesting to see the results. The stock market so far does not seem to be reflecting a serious downturn in retails sales. I find that a bit odd. Here are my two stores so far that I've asked:

- Restoration Hardware - Orange County, CA - home decor chain

- Aaron Brothers - Orange County, CA - picture frame supply chain 



lundsta's picture
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Joined: Oct 13 2008
Posts: 89
Re: Informal Retail Sales Survey

Best Buy- Washington county, Oregon Electronics chain

Bed, Bath and Beyond- Washington county, Oregon Home decor/supplies chain

Macys - Washington county, Oregon Retail chain


All reported slowest they have ever seen. They did not have data to back-up the opinion. 


joe2baba's picture
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Joined: Jun 17 2008
Posts: 807
Re: Informal Retail Sales Survey

- all reetaurants----fayetteville ark.

- all lumber yards and lowes and home depot--fayetteville ark.

good news auctions are doing a booming biz prices are ridiculously low---$21 -craftsman 1.5 hp tablesaw, $65  toshiba laptop

etc. etc. etc. i think we are in a deflationary depression...............but it is al so FUZZY

djhester1940's picture
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Joined: Sep 22 2008
Posts: 35
Re: Informal Retail Sales Survey

Last night I was speaking to a neighbor who is a mechanic for a large Ford dealer here in San Antonio. He told me that the normal sales volume for new cars was around 200 cars per month and somewhere in the neighborhood of 400 used cars per month. Last month, October, they sold a total of five cars. To me this sounds serious.


chameleon's picture
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Joined: Jul 23 2008
Posts: 24
Re: Informal Retail Sales Survey

I've got one.

My wife works for Calvin Klein underwear (Warnaco Group) as a regional manager for the west coast.  She told me that sales are down double digit across the board at stores like Nordstrom, Bloomingdales, and Macy's.  In some places like Chicago downtown sales are down over 50% year on year (note these are monthly sales figures for Oct.).

She also felt like she was being mauled on a recent trip to "Nordie's".  The store was so empty she couldn't get away from the salespeople trying to help her out.  She loves shopping, but in this case was so uncomfortable that she ended up leaving.


Nichoman's picture
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Joined: Nov 1 2008
Posts: 422
Re: Informal Retail Sales Survey
My wife manages a very profitable Subway Restaurant (busiest and most profitable in our town) in a prosperous town (~6,000) in Eastern Iowa.  Number clients are only down ~5-10 percent.  However, most folks no longer buy chips, drinks, cookies etc.   They all flock to specials.  Footlongs...often split by two people and used as 2 money.    Told other area restaurants (six) are suffering much more than Subway.   One may go out of business next 30 days.
robk's picture
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Joined: Aug 21 2008
Posts: 13
Re: Informal Retail Sales Survey

At a Boy Scout meeting last night, one of our Eagle scouts gave an update about REI (the outdoor equipment store) where he works each year. 

 They had their "big" holiday kick-off staff meeting over the weekend.  Unlike last year's, there were no t-shirts, no food, no give-aways... and worst of all -- NO HOURS available for part-time workers for the Thanksgiving weekend.  Their indoor rock climbing wall has been closed, as they can't afford the staff to monitor climbers.

rvwainscott's picture
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Joined: Aug 31 2008
Posts: 9
Re: Informal Retail Sales Survey


 My wife works at a high end furniture store in Phoenix, AZ.  This is a 120,000 sq/ft place where you can buy one of a kind hand made furniture.  For example, you could buy a nice bookcase for, say, $27,000 or bar stools for $8000 each - fancy stuff.  It isn't uncommon for my wife's clients to spend as much as 100k to redecorate a room.

 Anyway, their sales are down 40% (this is a fact as reported by the owner) from this time last year.  This strongly suggests to me that the wealthy, too, are very much feeling the pinch.

Liam's picture
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Joined: Sep 5 2008
Posts: 16
Re: Informal Retail Sales Survey
I was watching the NYC halloween parade and I saw an older couple walking with the performers. I watched them stop, hold up the paraders behnd tham, walk back and pick up a quarter. that was the mament I reaized the depression is here.
krogoth's picture
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Joined: Aug 18 2008
Posts: 576
The foreign reflection

OK, not that many of you care about Taiwan or China's difficulties, I will still report them.

The government is ready to give a stimulus to every man, woman and child to improve consumer spending in Taiwan. This is not happening in China on any level

Restaurants as a whole are down about 25% on average. Many are closing as the profit margins are extremely tight for food related services compared to America

Consumer goods are dropping like crazy, about 20-25%, and looking like it will be around 40% closer to the Chinese new year. They are practically giving stuff away.

Factories are closing, and data is hard to get about this, but it looks around 10%, but workers are getting laid off at about a 32% rate on average across the board. Company holidays (similar to what Cisco is doing) are happening a lot. Unpaid, but they are doing 1 week closures to save money a few times a quarter, or shortening the work week.

Transportation is down 15%

Consumer spending is down 24% on major purchases, including homes

General consumer spending is down around 29%


Foreign economics are much different than American economics. If prices rise here, people just don't buy it and they do it on a very large scale. Different cultures, different attitude.

And Nichorman, Subway is doing quite well here and is highly successful with the younger crowd, and is always filled with a line going out the door. The 16-30 year old Taiwanese and Chinese population love American food.






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