Upbeat reports about the economy and retail in particular, continue. In both February and March articles the Times reports positive results.
NY Times February 12, 2010-“Surprising Strength in January Retail Sales”
“Sales at retailers were unexpectedly strong last month, suggesting consumers were feeling a little more comfortable about spending, which could improve prospects for first-quarter economic growth. Retail sales rose 0.5 percent as consumers stepped up spending not only on essential goods but on luxury items as well, the Commerce Department said on Friday”
NY Times March 4, 2010- “Despite Storms, Stores Beat Expectations with Relatively Strong Gains”
“ Despite fears that snowstorms in February would dampen sales, the nation’s stores posted their strongest results on Thursday since late 2007, suggesting the beginnings of a broad recovery in retailing. Nearly every major chain turned in robust figures, beating analysts’ expectations and recording the sixth consecutive monthly sales increase. Even long-struggling stores and sectors came back from the dead.”
Using the Wall Street yardstick that the market predates the economy by six months the, good news/bad news index seems to indicate that stores might see real gains for Back to School selling in August. Eighteen months ago the papers were littered with stories indicating the likelyhood of a possible depression. The bad news indicator stood at 100%. The pendulum began to swing back about 6 months ago. Here and there, some positive reports appeared. Now the anecdotal evidence seems to point to a fifty fifty mix of hopeful versus frightful. Nice! My guess is that on the ground, store owners in the City might soon get some real evidence of this change in perception. Sales should start to increase. Perhaps, in a few months, business might actually look good to some store owners. And optimists always, they will look to expand, taking advantage of increased availability and lower rents.