This has now become a game of “who blinks first?” Will it be Lairig Marketing or the National Retail Federation?
A quick recap: In several prior posts, we’ve chastised the NRF for each of its shopping forecasts over the past 10 months. To refresh your memory, here’s what the NRF predicted for year-over-year increases in sales:
- Halloween  – up 20%
- Valentine’s Day – up 8.5%
- Easter – up 11.0%
- Mother’s Day – up 8.4%
- Father’s Day – up 10.0%
And remember, the NRF gets a free pass every time, because no one – NO ONE – tracks the data to see how sales really turned out.
But we do have interesting data from a different perspective. It’s called U.S. GDP. And the gubberment told us this, about that:
- Q4-2011: GDP = 3.0%
- Q1-2012: GDP = 2.0%
- Q2-2012: GDP = 1.5%
With consumer purchases making up the majority of GDP, Bill Gates himself couldn’t write a program that would balance the equation with double-digit retail spending increases.
In fact, the Feds calculated that personal consumption by U.S. shoppers fell by FIFTY PERCENT from Winter to Spring.
So, with the Back to School (“BTS”) shopping season upon us, and the economy continuing to swirl around the toilet bowl, what would you think the NRF has predicted?
Yep, a 14% increase. FOURTEEN bloody percent.
This will be good news for the likes of Abercrombie & Fitch, who just reported that same-store sales FELL 5% in Q2, and took a meat cleaver to future guidance, dropping EPS for 2013 by 33%.
And it will be good news for our friends at JC Penney, who just reported same-store sales down 22%.
And perhaps for teen favorite Aeropostale, who also just cut guidance big time. For anyone wanting a “real world” view, you can listen in to Aeropostale’s earnings call this Thursday, August 16, at 4:15 PM EDT, where it plans to also provide “an update on back-to-school trends.”