Today is called Cyber-Monday — a nonsensical media phrase to follow up the Black Friday shopping blitz. On line shopping has been growing rapidly the past 10 years, with 30-40% year on year gains.
We also know gift cards have been huge the past few years around the holidays, This year, Amazon is making a big marketing push to create a mash up of the two: online Amazon gift certificates.
Mike, my freshman year college roommate, sent me the first Amazon gift subscription I ever received in 1997. Thanks to him, I’ve been a regular Amazon customer ever since.
Is an email with a dollar credit the same as a little plastic card 2 x 3 card? (I don’t know)
Also, I have updated the weekend retail round up with the following links:
Black Friday Breakdown (Scott Rothport, Street Insight)
Black Friday Turned Green at the Malls Before Dawn
Retail sales mixed at start of US holiday season;
(Car sales forecast to fall in 2007 to lowest since 1998)
How Housing Slump Is Risk To Big Three Rebound http://online.wsj.com/article/SB116458922079133152.html
Holiday Sales Get Off to Solid Start, But Wal-Mart Doesn’t Share Cheer
Fascinating interview With Richard Arvedlund, Founder, Cypress Capital Management, who is not particularly optimistic on the economy going forward:
WE CAN ALWAYS COUNT ON RICHARD ARVEDLUND to take a different tack. Independent and bold calls on the economy come easy to this longtime money manager, who’s seen it all in his 30-plus-year career. But his balanced investment approach, with a focus on high-yielding, big-cap stocks combined with some bets on bonds, helps his clients preserve their capital as much as build it. The founder of Wilmington, Del.-based Cypress Capital Management, which has $450 million in assets and is now a unit of WSFS Financial, is at his best in troubled times. Trouble, the way he sees it, is straight ahead.
Barron’s: It took a year, but the calls you made when we last spoke are looking pretty good now.
Arvedlund: Well, until midyear the economy was running much stronger than I had thought it would. However, a GDP [growth domestic product] slowdown has clearly begun. The GDP growth rate dropped to 1.6% in the third quarter from 2.6% in the prior quarter and 5.6% in the first quarter. We have not seen GDP growth below 2% for four or five years. We now have preconditions in place for a recession.
The preconditions would be the following: Whenever housing starts and permits drop by the rates of decline that have been exhibited — 10% to 20% — it has always preceded a recession. What is remarkably different in housing than just about any other sector of the economy is that whenever housing cycles turn down, and that’s happened twice in the last 30 years, once in the late ‘Seventies and once in the late ‘Eighties, the downturn tends to last much longer than people dream. The average cycle is three to four years.
Recession: The Stage Is Set
Interview With Richard Arvedlund, Founder, Cypress Capital Management
Barron’s, Monday, November 13, 2006