Holiday Sales Verdict: Mixed

Far be it from me to say "I told you so," but . . .

A roundup of all the same store sales data shows that holiday sales were a mixed bag. Internet sales, Electronics and Discounting were the big winners. Department stores, malls, and those who refused  to engage in aggressively promotional pricing were the losers.

Digital cameras, celll phones, plasma screens, and all flavors of iPods are hot sellers. Several analysts upped their expected Apple sales figures for Q4.

One  of the surprises: Luxury goods have lost some luster from prior years. However, I would expect the Neiman Marcus/Tiffany/Coach/Nordstroms of the world to regain sales momentum as we get closer to the holidays. Trust me when I tell you that no one will be spending their Wall Street bonuses at Wal-Mart.

Unrelated to the holiday shopping season, auto sales were weak. As you were warned in August, there is only a finite number of cars that can be shoehorned into garages and drvieways. Whatever was given away at cost in July and August were sales stolen from October and November. This is despite all of the cars that needed to be replaced post-Katrina. Estimates were that some half a million cars were destroyed.

Sources:
Consumer Spending Turns Cautious
Despite a Holiday Spike, Retailers and Auto Makers See Sales Rise Only Mildly
By STEPHANIE KANG and GINA CHON
THE WALL STREET JOURNAL, December 2, 2005; Page A3
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB113336631944410262.html

Luxury Products Appear to Lose Luster, Data Show   
By Leslie Earnest,
LA Times, December 2, 2005
http://www.latimes.com/news/local/valley/la-fi-retail2dec02,1,5880059.story?

For Retailers, Season Gets Off To a So-So Start
By Ylan Q. Mui
Washington Post Staff, Friday, December 2, 2005; Page D01
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/12/01/AR2005120101818.html

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