Posts filed under “Consumer Spending”
Mrs. Big Picture is smart enough to know that when she wants to go
shopping, she best not call it that if she wants me to come along. So
the clever lass has taken to calling sport shopping "Economic Research."
I do this sort of "research" every week.
That’s why I laughed on Tuesday night, when Noah Blackstein busted my chops for shopping at Sears (I’ve been a Land’s End client for years). While I was there, I looked at appliances, lawn mowers, plasmas, and Levis. On a Saturday afternoon, tumbleweeds rolled by — the store was totally empty.
I have the same routine every time I visit a store: I look at the merchandise, see how well the store is stocked, merchandised, organized, cleaned, etc. Typical Peter Lynch stuff. I lurk around, watching other customers interact with store employees. I often buy something, if only to return it and see how the process is. (A pair of Levis went back to Sears 3X — they were defective and split in the wash).
Over the past month, I have been to the following stores:
Home Depot (HD)
Best Buy (BBY)
Circuit City (CC)
Ralph Lauren Polo (RL)
Smith & Wollensky (SWRG)
Saks Fifth Avenue (SKS)
Pottery Barn (WSM)
Williams Sonoma (WSM)
Lord & Taylor
Barneys (formerly BNNY)
That doesn’t count all the small mom and pop stores and restaurants.
Over that period, I purchased items at Home Depot and Lowes (all sorts of stuff), Fortunoffs, Target, Polo, Century 21 (my Ted Baker ties come from there as well as Saks and Ebay), Lord & Taylor, Amazon (books and DVDs/CDs), and an auto dealer (I used Swapalease.com to replace the wifes RX8). Oh, and I got a new keyboard at Apple.
I avoid Wal-Mart (WMT) in NY, as the stores are these horrific garish fluorescent nightmares. In California, where they seem to be open til midnight or even 24 hours, I have made emergency/lost luggage purchases at the only slightly less ugly versions. I cannot recall the last time I was in a K-Mart (SHLD), but many years ago they wrere the only big box retailer in the Hamptons/Riverhead.
Sandy in comments asks: Aside from Sears, how does everything else look?