Chicago Retail. Chicago Retailers Brace Themselves for a Blue Christmas

July 24, 2008 • Shopping


Roses are red, violets are blue,
This holiday season is going to suck
What else is new?

In an article in today’s Chicago Tribune, Sandra M. Jones spells out doom and gloom for the impending holiday season.

It may only be July, but retailers are already planning for the holiday season, and what they are sensing spells trouble with a capital T. Some experts are predicting this could be the toughest environment in almost 30 years.

"What word should I use? Terrible? Horrible? Miserable?" said Homi Patel, chairman and chief executive of Hartmarx Corp., a Chicago-based clothing manufacturer of suits and sportswear, when asked to describe the 2008 holiday. "There is a time when the consumer isn’t going to shop. It doesn’t matter if it’s 70 or 80% off, the mind-set is, ‘I just don’t want to shop.’ And that’s something we haven’t seen in quite some time."

Even Costco Wholesale Corp., warned Wednesday that profit for the current quarter would be "well below" Wall Street estimates as the company grapples with higher energy costs and holds back on price increases in order to keep customers.

The magnitude of the housing crisis, combined with soaring food and gas prices, leads the research group to believe that consumer spending, a main driver of the economy, will shrink as a percentage of the gross domestic product in the years ahead.

The back-to-school sales season often is held as a bellwether for holiday sales, but this year is complicated by the federal tax-rebate checks, which likely will give an artificial lift to July and August sales.

Retailers have placed the bulk of their orders for the holiday season. Come November, the trick will be to figure out how to get shoppers into their stores or onto their Web sites.

Read "Even now, retailers see a blue Christmas" here.

See the Top Ten Summer 2016 Trends for Women Over 40

Tags: , , ,

Leave a Reply