Retail Sales = Hard Landing ?

How bad were April Retail Sales today?

• Wal-Mart posted its deepest monthly decline in at least 28 years.

• The UBS-International Council of Shopping Centers sales tally posted a decline of 2.3 percent, the biggest drop since the index started tracking the data.

• 80% of retailers that have reported missed comp estimates, according to Peter Bookvar of Miller Tabak

• When the Retailers made their forecasts for April sales, they already knew that Easter was in March. Despite making adjustments for that calendar variation, they STILL MISSED ESTIMATES BY A WIDE MARK.

Blame it on the Weather:  A quick reminder of the Retailers favorite bullshit excuses: The Weather. In April, there was too much rain. (You mean it rains in the Spring — Who Knew ???)

To remind y’all about some past exusage, it was "Too warm in January, too cold in February, too much static cling in March. The fear for May is the emergence of the 17 year Cicada, which will interfere dramatically with ongoing retail promotions. Also of major concern: German U-Boats off of the coast of New Jersey will be interfering with the Memorial Day sales. (We last looked at these less-than-believable excuses in Through The Retail Looking Glass)

I demand that if you are going to bullshit me with absurd and moronic excuses, at least have the god-damned courtesy to make them entertaining.

Is there anyone who covers Retail that can answer a question honestly? Yes:

"Aside from scheduling changes [early Easter], several economic factors likely hampered
Wal-Mart and other retailers. Consumers did most of their tax-refund
spending in March. Gasoline prices have risen 9% in the past month to
$3.03 a gallon, further pinching cash-strapped consumers. "Housing
market sluggishness has translated into much lower levels of mortgage
equity withdrawal in 2006 and 2007 from what we saw in 2005,"
Retail
Metrics President Ken Perkins said. Such withdrawals had been "a
significant source of consumer spending."

Retail Sales drop
click for larger interactive chart
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Retail_sales_drop_mm

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Sources:
Toyota Reports Modest Growth On Materials Costs, U.S. Slowness
AMY CHOZICK
WSJ, May 9, 2007 8:30 a.m.
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB117869114262197051.html

Wal-Mart Sales Are Worst in 28 Years
KRIS HUDSON
WSJ, May 10, 2007 11:42 a.m.
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB117880185064598518.html

U.S. Retailers’ April Sales Dip on Earlier Easter
Heather Burke
Bloomberg, May 10 2007
http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=a7L2Aoa5hAXg&

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Are CD Prices Coming Down?

We have long criticized the absurd Retail pricing of CDs. A few years ago, we asked the question Are CD Prices Getting More Dynamic?

It seems that some people in the industry have actually read The Long Tail, and figured out that they are better off pricing older catalog CDs aggressively, and actually selling them, rather than maintaining an absurd list price for 20, 30, even 50 year old recordings, and letting them sit in some warehouse somewhere unsold.

At the same time, it must be mentioned that the preponderence of utterly brain damaged morons in positions of authority in the Music Biz has not attenuated one tiny bit. They are the anti Long Tailers, also known as The Fat Heads.

The latest evidence of blunt head trauma syndrome is via this little piece of advanced rocketry: To sell used CDs in some states, at the behest of the industry, you are required to: 1) have your fingerprints taken; 2) endure a 30 day waiting period; 3) only recieve store credit for used CDs (not cash).

Idiots.

~~~

Meanwhile, in the world of online retailing, Amazon has done a decent job taking CDs and recordings that are Long Tail — either via age, or obscurity, or just overdue — and making them available at more competitive prices.

As traditional CD sellers disappear, the long tail catalog will be found increasingly at Online retailers, while the Big BOx (Wal Mart, Best Buy, Target) only carries the latest top 50 hits.

It makes smart business sense to use Amazon to blow them out.

After the jump, there’s a handful of Discs I pulled from Amazon — most are $7.97 . . .

>

Sources:
NARM Coverage: New Laws Threaten Used CD Market
Ed Christman, Chicago
Billboard May, 01, 2007 – Retail
http://www.billboard.biz/bbbiz/content_display/industry/e3i9ebf2d8ce6fd1e267bac18d43959ac24

Record shops: Used CDs? Ihre papieren, bitte!
Ken Fisher
Ars Technica,May 07, 2007 – 01:23PM CT
http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20070507-record-shops-used-cds-ihre-papieren-bitte.html

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