If every industry had a trade association like the National Retail Federation, our country’s economic woes would be a distant memory. We would, however, require roughly 182 days of the year to be some sort of holiday.
How did sales for those two holidays actually turn out? We don’t know. The NRF doesn’t care to check. It only tallies register rings on a prospective basis. And with Easter coming up, guess what press release is getting regurgitated this week?
The one from the National Retail Federation, assuring us of another blockbuster holiday. It begins:
“It seems even high prices at the pump can’t keep the Easter Bunny away this year.”
The NRF boldly states that 2012 Easter sales will be up 11% over last year. As with the Valentine and Halloween forecasts, this one is based on a survey. As before, random consumers are given a token incentive to scroll through a grab-bag list of product categories and check off one of several spending levels.
Example: “When buying candy this Easter, how much do you plan to spend? Under $5? Between $5 and $10? etc. etc.” Followed in rapid succession by clothes, a holiday meal, gifts, flowers, decorations and, once again, those old-fangled things called greeting cards.
Little do the survey takers know that after all this box checking, they have "spent" on average an overall sum of $145.28. Can you imagine if the NRF showed each participant that total at the end of the survey and asked, “How likely are you to toss $145 into the wind this weekend?”
While we’re at it, let’s add this survey question:
"The following NRF quote is from which year – 1945, 1974, or 2012? ... 'Though the price of gas is on everyone’s mind, Easter is one of the few holidays some consumers are willing to stretch their budgets, especially because many children look forward to treats and new outfits on Easter morning.' ”
Believe it or not, that was NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay, in 2012. Speaking, apparently, from under a rock.