Posts filed under “Retail”

Snowbound Shopping

Fun and tiring day. We dug out early in the morning, then took the beasts for a romp in the snow. The puppy — now almost 1 — never saw a foot of snow before. (loved it!)

We left the house about 11:30 for Dim Sum brunch. The roads were all plowed, but mostly empty.

For years, I’ve given retailers grief about their annual complaints that it “gets cold and snows in the North during winter” — as if it was a surprise. But it is the Sunday before Christmas, and I have to admit that nearly every store we went into was empty. Amongst others, Loews, Century 21, Pet Supplies were rather free of shoppers. The parking lot at Nordstrom’s was pretty sparse. Guess the weather actually did scare many gift hunters away.

No worries, we can still help you get your shopping done. So far, I have tried to steer you away from Gift Cards and towards some price war items. I also suggested some sale items and other gift ideas.

Well, with just 5 Days til Xmas, here are some more gift ideas, from the comfort of your closest internet connection:

crumb genesisWhen I first saw this, the title alone made me laugh: The Book of Genesis Illustrated by R. Crumb

But don’t laugh — this is a serious work: “Far removed from the satirical reimagining some might expect from the father of underground comix, Crumb’s long-awaited take on the first book of the Bible presents the artist’s own sensitive, visually intense reflections. Where most visual adaptations edit down their prose sources, Crumb has, strikingly, included every word of the Book of Genesis within his first major book-length work.”

Sounds fascinating.

the-money-game_pub• Scott Moore, a Laguna Beach artist, wanted to depict the stock market debacle and Bailouts via his painting. He documents the economic crisis here in the United States by using vintage toys — banks, cars, houses, piggy banks — to represent various areas of the bankrupted/bailed out economy.  Scott now has prints available of the work.

BMW Performance Driving School: I’ve done course at Limerock and Sebring, but always wanted to try this particular one. These aren’t race classes, but rather, aim to “extract the highest level of performance from an automobile by its driver under any circumstances.”  My high performance driving school was one of the most memorable gifts I ever received. The BMW prices range from “Not Bad” to “Holy shit” )

pure GPure Genius: The Complete Atlantic Recordings of Ray Charles (1952-1959) [BOX SET] All of Ray’s work at Atlantic collected in one place. Rhino/Atlantic does a nice jonb assembling the Ray’s music. The accolades this set received when it was first issued look to be worth it. (I added this to my wish list)

Note that you can only get this used, as it appears to no longer be issued.

• I love the collection of whimsical, charming sculptures by Frogman. The prices range from modest into the $1,000s.

vis miscThe Visual Miscellaneum: A Colorful Guide to the World’s Most Consequential Trivia: Know someone who is as fascinated as I am by the many ways we can convey data visually (as opposed to verbally)?

Than this gorgeous book might be for them. The visuals are compelling, beautifully presenting complex data in a single page.

For those who enjoy seeing the many way to present countless statistics and random facts.

• If you have a cigar smoker on your gift list, I suggest this: The Padron Anniversary Series 1926 Exclusivo has been one of my favorite smokes for years. Before the factory burned down, they were $3-4 per stick. Since then the prices have gone up 5 fold. Rated 97 by Cigar Aficionado & Named The No.1 Cigar of the Year for 2007. And I have the Lotus 21 Twin Flame Torch Lighter — it totally kicks ass!

fetish• Jeweller Marc Woods has created a series of fetishistic objects for an exhibition at the Wapping Project in London. I don’t know why, but I want to hold this in my hands and touch this object.

Category: Consumer Spending, Retail, Web/Tech

Last Minute Shopping List !

Back home from Florida — its a 60 degree temperature swing from Fort Lauderdale to NYC — and I suddenly realize that I have some shopping to do. I assume many of you are also behind on this most wasteful holiday of consumer spending frenzy. Here are a few items that are on my list…Read More

Category: Consumer Spending, Retail

The King Report: No, Retail Sales Did Not Improve in November

> ~~~ How can US beancounters report twice the expected retail sales when all private data and state tax data shows that November had tepid if not soft retail sales – even with the easy y/y comparisons? FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE FRIDAY, DECEMBER 11, 2009, AT 8:30 A.M. EST ADVANCE MONTHLY SALES FOR RETAIL AND FOOD…Read More

Category: Data Analysis, Retail, Think Tank


Whatever little patience I had with Patrick Byrne, and his overzealous friends at, has now become officially exhausted. As I noted last week ( Scraping Facebook Friends), this group found the Facebook friends and relatives of any journalist, critic, fund manager or blogger who dared to  criticize Overstock (or Deep Capture), and then published…Read More

Category: Financial Press, Retail, Short Selling, Web/Tech

Strong Retail Sales in November

Nice chart via Econompic >

Category: Retail, Think Tank

Lucky Shopping Error

I mentioned the other night that I dawdled and missed out on making some cheap purchases at Amazon — the complete Curb Your Enthusiasm: Seasons 1-6:  and Dilbert 2.0: 20 Years of Dilbert. I had put it into my shopping cart, then promptly forgot about it. The next day, the prices had more than doubled…Read More

Category: Retail

What Do Online Sales Look Like This Year?

Black Friday saw more shoppers out, but each consumer spent less per person than they did last year. Cyber Monday — a nonsense term coined by the spin doctors over at the National Retail Federation in 2005 — was quite similar. No, it isn’t the largest online shopping day of the year, it merely is…Read More

Category: Consumer Spending, Retail

In Stock! Bad Holiday Sales Forecasts

One of the items that never seems to go out of style is the annual holiday sales forecast. Mix one part survey, one part “foot traffic” analysis, and an (un)healthy dollop of optimistic trade group spin, and the result is a cheery annual forecast. As the WSJ noted, “A postmortem of seven leading forecasters’ holiday…Read More

Category: Consumer Spending, Data Analysis, Psychology, Retail

History of “Black Friday” Is Not What You Think

Two Black Friday related issues. The first is Ethan Trex’ A Brief History of Black Friday (Mental Floss). Ethan disposes of the myth that the name reflects when Retailers “Get in the Black”: “According to researchers, the name “Black Friday” dates back to Philadelphia in the mid-1960s. The Friday in question is nestled snugly between…Read More

Category: Consumer Spending, Retail

A Strategic Guide to Black Friday Bargains

WSJ reporter Ann Zimmerman – a retail-sector veteran – offers tips and tricks to finding bargains on Black Friday, the biggest shopping day of the year.


Category: Retail, Video