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Retail Traffic Plunges By "Staggering" 21% In Week Before Christmas

Tyler Durden's picture




 

That it has been one of the most lacklustre shopping seasons in recent years has already been repeatedly covered, with average holiday spending expected to decline for the first time since the Great Financial Crisis of 2008, all this despite record promotions and an ever earlier start to Black Friday.

Another chart showing the same trend from Bloomberg, with the comment that the "eroding middle class can no longer drive activity as it has in the past" - that's odd: we said the same thing in late 2009 for which we got yet another label of tinfoil conspiracy theorists...

However, while the early start to shopping season has missed expectations, driven primarily by an unprecedented weakness in traditional bricks and mortar outlets, there was some hope that the last stretch into Christmas and the New Year would provide a much needed, last minute bump. Those hopes were dashed last night when Shopptertrack reported that retail traffic plummeted by an unprecedented 21% last week, and in-store sales decreased 3.1% from the year before, dashing retailers' hopes that the final stretch before Christmas would offset soft sales numbers earlier in the holiday shopping season.

UT San Diego reports:

The disappointing numbers, released by ShopperTrak on Monday, are "kind of staggering," said the research firm's founder, Bill Martin, who last week voiced optimism that retailers would see a noticeable spike in traffic and sales the week of Dec. 16-22 after two consecutive weeks of decreases in both.

 

He attributed the latest nosedive to successful November promotions, and bad weather last week in the Midwest and other central states. An increase in virtual window-shopping has prevented consumers throughout the shopping season from setting foot in many stores to look, feel and compare prices, he added.

Wait, November promotions were successful? For whom: retailers whose bottom lines got crushed in the margin collapse, or buyers who decided to wait and keep waiting for even better deals, until in the end they decided not to buy at all. Blaming the weather we understand, as do the trend to convert purchases to "window shopping" - in a world in which everything is turning virtual, it only makes sense that Americans pretend to shop asl well.

What's worse, however, is that the deus ex of online sales is not appearing and will not save the day:

But even online sales aren’t growing at the expected pace. Online spending from home and work desktop computers in the U.S. from Nov. 1 through Dec. 15 was up 9 percent from the same period last year to $37.8 billion, according to the most available data from comScore.

 

That’s below the 14 percent growth that the Internet research firm is forecasting for the season.

 

Even though Black Friday holds the title as single busiest shopping day of the holiday season, the week before Christmas is traditionally the busiest week in the most important shopping season of the year. Many retailers depend on November and December to make as much as 40 percent of their annual revenue, the National Retail Federation says. But while 2013 is shaping up to be the largest holiday shopping season on record, retailers are not getting the photo finish they expected.

 

"The numbers are not devastating, but they are a bit alarming," Martin said.

 

He is not revising his forecast of 2.4 percent overall growth in retail sales for November and December, already the slowest growth since 2009, because it was strong sales in early November that caused the softer late-season sales.

Finally, it appears that the strategy of pulling forward demand to the present through record discounts, and crushing margins in hopes of "making it up in volume" only works for those perpeptual non-cash flow generating juggernauts like Amazon, which on a long enough timeline will do everything (badly), and supposedly put everyone out of business. Just not yet.

Retailers began earlier than ever promoting deep discounts and deals to appeal to frugal consumers. Retail sales in November were up 4.7 percent from 2012, the Commerce Department reported.

 

"November was pretty strong, and that's going to carry some weight into December," Martin said. "If December ends up being flat, I expect we're still going to have a 2.4 percent increase."

 

There are some strong shopping days left before the end of the month, he said, and retailers will push hard to get shoppers back into their stores post-Christmas to exchange gifts, use gift cards and take advantage of post-holiday promotions. Gift cards are not recorded as sales until they are exchanged for merchandise, and because 80 percent of shoppers plan to buy them this year, bringing total gift card spending to an all-time high of $29.8 billion, they could have a big influence on sales after the Christmas holiday.

 

Final sales figures for the holiday shopping season are expected in January.

We can't wait. In the meantime, we expect seasonally adjusted government retail sales data to indicate once again, that all is well, and that it is not the ARIMA X 12 seasonal fudge-factor goalseeker that is wrong, but that it is reality which is at fault.

 

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Tue, 12/24/2013 - 09:18 | 4273075 wisehiney
wisehiney's picture

According to that ZH chart from yesterday, we were all staggering down to the liquor store.

Tue, 12/24/2013 - 09:25 | 4273080 XAU XAG
XAU XAG's picture

Been staggering down to the liquor store since 2008!

 

"Merry Christmas" and a "Happy New Year" to Zerohedgers

 

 

Tue, 12/24/2013 - 09:42 | 4273111 krispkritter
krispkritter's picture

As the economic cart rolled over the cliff, the view of the rocky ground below became clear.  As terminal velocity was reached I thought, "I wonder why the ground looks so big?".  Then it hit me...

Tue, 12/24/2013 - 09:49 | 4273123 BKbroiler
BKbroiler's picture

I'd like to believe that in the wake of the crisis and the struggle that followed, people became less materialistic, more in touch with what's really important in life.  But no, theyz just po.

Tue, 12/24/2013 - 10:11 | 4273146 onewayticket2
onewayticket2's picture

Note: i heard this AM that this holiday season has SIX fewer shopping days than last year.  say "shopping season" is thirty days....that's 20% fewer days to shop....stands to reason sales might drop by a commensurate amount.

maybe one of you retail analysts can chime in.

Tue, 12/24/2013 - 10:50 | 4273221 tarsubil
tarsubil's picture

You'd think the last day of shopping would then be pandemonium since everyone is rushing to get their shopping done. I went shopping yesterday and it was at worst brisk but certainly not high or any where near extreme. Most shelves were packed. I remember a while back where I went to a toy store a couple days before Christmas and it was like a bomb went off and there were literally just a couple toys on the shelves. Meh. The numbers say everything is great.

Tue, 12/24/2013 - 12:20 | 4273371 Colonel Klink
Colonel Klink's picture

Fuck'em all.  I boycotted Christmas this year.  I'm not spending one red fucking cent.  Only way to send a message to our Feral government is to shut down the eCONomy.  Things come to a grinding halt, maybe they'll get the message.

Tue, 12/24/2013 - 13:35 | 4273518 A Nanny Moose
A Nanny Moose's picture

Anecdotal, but I was at Best Buy yesterday. The line at checkout was non-existent. I'm not talking 1 or 2 people in front of me (typical is 10-15)...I walked straight to a register. That simply does not happen, when there are only 3 registers open.

Tue, 12/24/2013 - 11:43 | 4273317 ElvisDog
ElvisDog's picture

Fewer shopping days is a desperate, stupid argument. You still have the same number or people to buy for, right? You won't have less or more money to spend on gifts depending on the number of shopping days. 

Tue, 12/24/2013 - 14:21 | 4273639 onewayticket2
onewayticket2's picture

lighten up, francis.  i am in full agreement that there's no wind in the sales and that times are probably worse than last year.  merely stating something i read as a possible factor for downward pressure on sales. 

the fact that two of my biggest nuts - my property tax and my family's health insurance just went up 14% and 38%, resp. has nothing to do with my spending being down!  really.

Tue, 12/24/2013 - 18:07 | 4274079 PoliticalRefuge...
PoliticalRefugeefromCalif.'s picture

Exactly, Christmas is an arbitrary deadline, you have 365 days no matter when Thanksgiving (another arbitrary point of time) falls to get your Christmas shopping done.

Debt grows exponentially, tax revenue grows linearly; any notion that furthers the scope of government always includes larceny-

It seems the bubble is leaking.

 

 

Tue, 12/24/2013 - 13:24 | 4273492 A Nanny Moose
A Nanny Moose's picture

Perhaps you are correct, to some degree, in your first assumption? Perhaps producers have begun to Go Galt?

Tue, 12/24/2013 - 10:13 | 4273148 ss123
ss123's picture

 

Everyone is just buying online instead, right?

Tue, 12/24/2013 - 10:29 | 4273184 grid-b-gone
grid-b-gone's picture

As online traffic grows, it makes sense that with shipping lead-time, retail activity will become more sparse for the few days before Christmas.

As a procrastinator, I have noticed the ability to buy at odd hours and at my convenience has made me an earlier shopper. I've been done for about a week, just as the data shows. 

Tue, 12/24/2013 - 11:05 | 4273244 NoDebt
NoDebt's picture

A good point, but I see it somewhat differently.  That last week is inherently tough for online shopping (knowing it will arrive in time without paying extra shipping costs for faster delivery becomes a bigger questionmark with each passing day).  Brick and mortar stores are great for last minute shopping because you carry it out on the spot.

And then there's this:

"retail traffic plummeted by an unprecedented 21% last week, and in-store sales decreased 3.1% from the year before, "

That tells me there was no bump for the brick and mortar stores.  Not only are sales down 3%, but traffic falling off 21%- that means something even more important.  Discounts and special deals don't matter if you simply don't have the money.  Either they're budgeting very carefully or they know there's simply no point taking one last look in case something "catches their eye."  Tapped out is tapped out.  And a 21% decline in traffic means they're not just tapped out, they KNOW they're tapped out.


Tue, 12/24/2013 - 12:01 | 4273338 Tijuana Donkey Show
Tijuana Donkey Show's picture

That, and most shit sucks. How do you want your chinese plastic arranged?

Tue, 12/24/2013 - 13:32 | 4273511 corporatewhore
corporatewhore's picture

the only thing we're sold out of is $1 lottery scratchers and airline bottles of booze.  That's the new American spirit of sharing and giving.  People are broke and stressed.  I told someone yesterday "Merry Christmas" and they yelled back "Fuck You".

 

Tue, 12/24/2013 - 18:10 | 4274087 PoliticalRefuge...
PoliticalRefugeefromCalif.'s picture

Let me apologize for man's seeming insensitivity to his fellow man by wishing you a very Merry Christmas you whore.. there feel better?

Tue, 12/24/2013 - 10:27 | 4273179 Chuck Walla
Chuck Walla's picture

Nothing says you're serious quite like needing a shopping car at the liquor store.

FORWARD CHRISTMAS GULAGS!

FORWARD SANTA'S SLAVES AND MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Tue, 12/24/2013 - 09:20 | 4273078 Jason T
Jason T's picture

broke bitchez

 

Tue, 12/24/2013 - 09:34 | 4273103 gafgroocK
gafgroocK's picture

 

 

FOWARD COMRADES! ONWARD THRU THE FOG!

Tue, 12/24/2013 - 10:01 | 4273132 Croesus
Croesus's picture

The "Staggering Drunk's Guide To Stawk Investment": 

1. Do NOT Short alcohol sales figures. 

2. Weak retail earnings are GOOD for retailers. 

3. Gold is Bad. 

4. Pour me another round. 

5. People who make shit that nobody needs will do well! 

6. Don't bet against the Yellenanke. 

7. WTF is a Yellenanke? 

8. Pour me another round. 

9. Buy booze companies. 

10. Gold is...

 

P.S. Merry Christmas!  

P.S.S. Fuck all you PC assholes with your BS holidays that nobody wants forced down their throats. I don't give a rats' ass what you celebrate. What you do is your business. Don't make it mine. 

P.S.S.S. (Is there such a thing?): Pour me another round. 

Tue, 12/24/2013 - 15:14 | 4273732 Bloodstock
Bloodstock's picture

Forced down your throat? Pa-lease! Will you go to work on Christmas Day or will you expect to have that day off? Will you demand to work for straight pay? (Hope you got a job.) Do you spend any special time spending with any special people? Do you buy your kids a present? All you Christmas complainers out their can kiss my ass! Merry Christmas just the same! Pour yourself another round and don't hit your head when you fall off of your bar stool.

Tue, 12/24/2013 - 09:45 | 4273117 XAU XAG
XAU XAG's picture

Yep!

 

 

 

"BROKE BACK DEBT MOUNTAIN"

Tue, 12/24/2013 - 12:00 | 4273341 Tijuana Donkey Show
Tijuana Donkey Show's picture

DEBT BROKE MY BACK MOUNTAIN

Tue, 12/24/2013 - 09:25 | 4273081 overmedicatedun...
overmedicatedundersexed's picture

no retailer wants you to use your pre paid gift card, can anyone get why?

" use gift cards and take advantage of post-holiday promotions. Gift cards are not recorded as sales until they are exchanged for merchandise, and because 80 percent of shoppers plan to buy them this year,"

Tue, 12/24/2013 - 09:54 | 4273126 Waterfallsparkles
Waterfallsparkles's picture

I just give my Grandaughters one gift and the rest in Cash. That way it does not involve the Banks.

I do not give gift cards as they limit where you can spend the Money.  Plus, why give the Bankers a cut if you give a pre-paid visa card.

Tue, 12/24/2013 - 09:54 | 4273127 Bobbyrib
Bobbyrib's picture

Spoiler Alert: If retail numbers are not "adjusted" to meet or exceed what is expected, the "good news" that will save the market is the outstanding amount in gift cards.

Tue, 12/24/2013 - 13:55 | 4273571 aerojet
aerojet's picture

I never understood why people buy gift cards when cash works just fine and you don't have to worry that the asshat at the counter did something wrong when adding "money" to the card.  WTF do you care if the person you give the cash to spends it at Target, Best Buy, buys pot with it or just sticks it into a jar?  Gift cards require you to consume for no obvious good reason.

Wed, 12/25/2013 - 05:39 | 4274749 IrritableBowels
IrritableBowels's picture

Some gift cards will add on if you purchase one of a certain value.  Say, for a fifty dollar gift card, one could get an extra 10 bucks. I bought a few, planning to spend money there anyway, and just made 20%...

 Quick search: http://springsbargains.com/christmas-gift-card-bonus-deals/

I realize the above link is exclusive to restaurants; the deal I found was through a clothing store, so they're out there as well.

Tue, 12/24/2013 - 09:26 | 4273082 Obchelli
Obchelli's picture

Bullish. If it is not bullish enough just blame it on weather.

Meantimes consumer confidence is soaring according to all numbers and GDP at multi year highs...

 

where is the truth?

Tue, 12/24/2013 - 09:28 | 4273091 XAU XAG
XAU XAG's picture

where is the truth?

 

Swept under the carpet!

Tue, 12/24/2013 - 09:32 | 4273102 overmedicatedun...
overmedicatedundersexed's picture

I would like to buy some truth but it is not available due to,executive orders 1205-1211. national security comes well before truth. TSA/NSA confiscates all truth at the security check point, so don't bother trying to bring it in.

if you like your truth you can keep your truth.

Tue, 12/24/2013 - 10:01 | 4273131 GeezerGeek
GeezerGeek's picture

Of course it's the weather, or more precisely it's the snow.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/half-the-us-is-already-covered-with-snow/2013/12/20/84203c36-682d-11e3-a0b9-249bbb34602c_print.html

Meanwhile, S. Florida remains in the 80s (temperature, not decade or average age) and I for one wish Obama would redistribute some of the cooler air my way.

Tue, 12/24/2013 - 09:26 | 4273087 TheRideNeverEnds
TheRideNeverEnds's picture

Wow the markets aren't taking this well at all; they are sharply unchanged...  

 

Its basically a crash.

 

 

Tue, 12/24/2013 - 09:28 | 4273089 i-dog
i-dog's picture

The biggest tell (on the health of the retail economy) will be the post-Christmas sales period - the period of "discretionary" spending on sale items, compared with the pre-Christmas purchases of "necessary / traditional" gifts and food.

Tue, 12/24/2013 - 09:28 | 4273090 Shizzmoney
Shizzmoney's picture

Goldman: "This data might show an economic split"

This is like a doctor who injects a person with poison, and then after the patient vomits all over the floor, the doctor points to it and goes, "Look, he's sick!!!!!1111".

Tue, 12/24/2013 - 09:29 | 4273098 dobermangang
dobermangang's picture

The only things selling well right now are guns, ammo, scratch-off lottery tickets, Duck Dynasty T-shirts and Grand Theft Auto V. 

This was an average year for the Obama economy..... worst than last year, but better than next year.

Tue, 12/24/2013 - 09:37 | 4273107 krispkritter
krispkritter's picture

Just trying to do my part!

Tue, 12/24/2013 - 10:18 | 4273154 wisehiney
wisehiney's picture

Quack, Quack, Jack!

Tue, 12/24/2013 - 09:46 | 4273110 Waterfallsparkles
Waterfallsparkles's picture

It was 60 degrees here in the east.  I went to Walmart on Sat, got a great parking spot, store was not busy and check out lines not long at all.

Went to KMart on Sun, same great parking spot, store not busy and check out lines not long.

Although, except for my Grandaughters, the only thing I buy for my Children are food gifts.  That way there is nothing to take back and I know they will enjoy their gifts.  Except for the Children we stopped exchanging gifts 5 years ago.  This works great as no one has a debt hangover in January.

I thought that with the warm weather the stores would be packed but they were not as busy as a normal Saturday.  Either everyone already bought their presents or are not spending this year.

Tue, 12/24/2013 - 10:22 | 4273164 buzzsaw99
buzzsaw99's picture

I guessing that many wmt gift cards will go for gas and tp this year.

Tue, 12/24/2013 - 10:23 | 4273170 Handful of Dust
Handful of Dust's picture

I went to Sears appliance section which is supposed to  be their strong point and all the salesmen were standing arounds talking. Only 1 or 2 people straggling between the fridges with their kids....no buyers in sight.

Tue, 12/24/2013 - 09:42 | 4273113 10044
10044's picture

Definitely either  weather related or air jordans were sold out...so no point shopping

Tue, 12/24/2013 - 09:44 | 4273114 29.5 hours
29.5 hours's picture

 

 

"retail traffic plummeted by an unprecedented 21% last week"

 

I am partly to blame--and for that, I sincerely apologize. I'll try harder next year. Sorry.

 

 

 

Tue, 12/24/2013 - 09:44 | 4273115 Josh Randall
Josh Randall's picture

Blame it on the Rain

Tue, 12/24/2013 - 09:51 | 4273120 XAU XAG
XAU XAG's picture

 

 

 

 

 

 

Don't see many "Singing in the rain"

 

And talking of rain...............It's RAINING DEBT!

Tue, 12/24/2013 - 09:54 | 4273128 Bearwagon
Bearwagon's picture

No, that ain't rain. TPTB are pissing on your back, and you should know it. ;-)

Tue, 12/24/2013 - 10:08 | 4273136 XAU XAG
XAU XAG's picture

@Bearwagon

It's ok

as long as they KEEP pissing............it's keeping us warm................but it's not a good feeling when they stop!

Tue, 12/24/2013 - 10:20 | 4273157 Bearwagon
Bearwagon's picture

Don't let yourself be fooled. It is not a good feeling when they stop - just like it is not such a good feeling to come out of the warm shower and feel the chill. But it only lasts for a few moments (namely until you have dried yourself) and afterwards you feel refreshed and don't stink for a while. I guess there is a parallel to this situation ...

Tue, 12/24/2013 - 09:49 | 4273121 Notarocketscientist
Notarocketscientist's picture

Retailers have a free exchange policy for online purchases - what people should do is order loads of items from multiple retailers - then ask them to come and pick them up and return them.

If enough people did this we could tip the apple cart over - run a few big retailers into bankruptcy and that will take the whole pile of shit down - including the banks

Remember - you are being fucked by the corportocracy - it is the enemy - seek out every LEGAL way possible to topple it.

This is one of the very best ways - they are in fact INVITING you to fuck them - so do it

Tue, 12/24/2013 - 10:04 | 4273129 Bobbyrib
Bobbyrib's picture

A flaw in that plan that I see is they go back on their words and leave you with their iCrap and you have to pay them for it. Not shopping is a better way, IMO.

*Edit*: I was not the one who downvoted your post.

Tue, 12/24/2013 - 10:26 | 4273173 FreeNewEnergy
FreeNewEnergy's picture

"run a few big retailers into bankruptcy"

Don't worry, they don't need any help. Doing a smash-up job of it all by themselves. JCP will be the first to go; I have a choice parking spot already picked out for the "EVERYTHING MUST GO, CLOSING OUR DOORS, ALL SALES FINAL" going out of business sale at JC Pennys at the local mall (I need some new pants). But, just to be safe, don't bet the house on JCP taking down any banks. Goldman Sucks already has the real estate under many JCP stores locked and loaded.

Actually, Blockbuster already started the trend. There's a huge yellow sign on the Blockbuster near me. Can't miss it. Too bad nobody wants DVDs at anything over $2-4. There are some ebay sellers ready to swoop down and purchase all their remaining inventory for actual pennies on the dollar. 2014 will see numerous large bankruptcies, led by retailers, IMO.

Now, when these retailers start dropping like flies, the media will crow that it's because of the success of the internet (Obamacare web site not included). Net result is moar deflation... err, I mean, disinflation.

And Old Yellen will, as quietly as possible, probably by surreptitious means, increase QE to well over $100k per month, maybe buying up something like securitized student loans gone bad (video out soon).

The government will no longer want the shorts off your backs, because the shirts - sewn in Southeast Asian sweatshops by brown and yellow people who do not matter - aren't worth anything.

Usually, I'm not big on making predictions, as they're difficult to get right and most people will maim you more on your errors, rather than your correct calls, but I do believe bankruptcies are in order for 2014 in the retail sector, at least, and spreading to other consumer discretionary companies, maybe a couple of REITs or large mall owners (could be one and the same). More layoffs, more welfare, more SNAP, more phony government statistics, more lame excuses, more liberal apologists, and, as usual, the banks will profiteer like never before.

America has this coming, because it has ignored, squandered and/or pillaged the true wealth of the country - its land, its labor, its accumulated wealth and its populace - to save its fraudulent banking and political system.

Merry Christmas and may we all survive the coming New Year!

Tue, 12/24/2013 - 13:39 | 4273522 corporatewhore
corporatewhore's picture

JCP is a goner.  All the smart old time employees have left or were let go to their benefit (even tho it wasn't to their liking).  No niche in a market, a disastrous several years of Ron Johnson--there is no time for recovery and Ullman is just postponing the day of reckoning until 2014 so they could figure out what can be sold, let go etc.   The only question is when.

Tue, 12/24/2013 - 09:50 | 4273124 Whoa Dammit
Whoa Dammit's picture

I was out shopping last week (North Atlanta area). Costco was about like a normal day. Kmart was a ghost town. Williams Sonoma was pretty empty. PetSmart already had Christmas pet items on clearance. Kohl's had the most shoppers, but was not what would be called crowded.There was a noticeable lack of cars turning into Walmart (usually has a small traffic jam around Christmas). Parking lots at all of the big box retail centers seemed less full than on normal non-Christmas shopping days. 

I'm not sure on-line shopping will save things eithe,r as there appeared to be fewer UPS trucks out this year.

Tue, 12/24/2013 - 10:03 | 4273130 Bobbyrib
Bobbyrib's picture

If you are going to shop online, I would recommend doing it in late November and early December. The shipping companies don't seem competent enough to handle delivering past a certain point.

Tue, 12/24/2013 - 10:08 | 4273138 22winmag
22winmag's picture

Cuz everyone spent their filthy Federal Reserve Notes on guns and ammo earlier this year.

Tue, 12/24/2013 - 18:21 | 4274113 PoliticalRefuge...
PoliticalRefugeefromCalif.'s picture

Yes and Barry will soon deal with these "hoarders" because they are "wrecking" his vision, saboteurs should be dealt with firmly like Val-bat promised after last election.

Tue, 12/24/2013 - 10:08 | 4273139 dizzyfingers
dizzyfingers's picture

Not ramping up spending after 12/25 either. Eff bankers and companies that they own. "Holidays" are over forever as far as I'm concerned. No more auto-12/25clustereffing, you wanted it you got it, enjoy it.

 

Tue, 12/24/2013 - 10:11 | 4273145 flyme
flyme's picture

Ya know there in trouble when stores start offering 60-70% off sales 10 days before Christmas - just to entice potential shoppers to the malls.  Racks are still full - which doesn't bode well for stores. 

Tue, 12/24/2013 - 10:14 | 4273147 dizzyfingers
dizzyfingers's picture

For those who want to c-eff TPTB back, this is a good start: Mortgage Applications Down 66% From Highs To New 13-Year Low

Tue, 12/24/2013 - 10:21 | 4273168 debtor of last ...
debtor of last resort's picture

At 7 feet below sea level, nothern Europe, i spoke to a retailer. A shoe shop at the other side of the street from his lunchroom made €700,- on a day what 'should have been' €7000,-

His lunchroom makes the same in a week he used to make on one day.

Dieselboom said; the recession is over. Yep.

Tue, 12/24/2013 - 10:24 | 4273172 Judge Crater
Judge Crater's picture

Outside of drug addled Christmas boosters like Al Roker and the rest of the NBC TODAY show (who are paid to put on "Joker" type smiles) most people are not in the holday spirit.  What is to like, losing your individual health insurance plans, having your phone calls and e-mails tapped, watching your state taxes and fees spike up?  All the while, your wages and other earnings are frozen unless you are of the 1/10 of 1%.  Then again, who except someone like laughing guy Al Roker has a vested interest in pretending things are going great in the USA. 

Tue, 12/24/2013 - 11:13 | 4273260 Bobbyrib
Bobbyrib's picture

My phone plan was even downgraded without me noticing. I re-upped last November and now I have anytime minutes with Verizon. Nights and weekends used to be free, but not anymore. They claim Verizon wireless to Verizon wireless calls don't count towards my minutes, but my phone bill seems to suggest otherwise. When I signed up I was assured it would be the same plan as I had. They silently raised prices on me.

Tue, 12/24/2013 - 10:26 | 4273175 starman
starman's picture

hey in a world where fucking drones deliver your packages free who needs a store front

Tue, 12/24/2013 - 10:31 | 4273183 Silverhog
Silverhog's picture

I wondered how many of these ass holes who brawl over merchandise actually pay their credit card bills. 

Tue, 12/24/2013 - 10:46 | 4273219 J S Bach
J S Bach's picture

It doesn't cost anything to be with your family and say "Merry Christmas".  I agree with Charlie Brown and Linus... Christmas is too commercial.  If you need lotsa junk, just wait until AFTER the 25th and buy everything at half off.  

Tue, 12/24/2013 - 10:53 | 4273223 Cortez
Cortez's picture

I find that for me, many of this year's gift cards will become next year's gifts.  After all, do I really want to actually go to Applebees?

Tue, 12/24/2013 - 11:43 | 4273313 moonman
moonman's picture

Or the Olive Garden?

I live in NY we have real Italian food

Tue, 12/24/2013 - 10:53 | 4273224 Catullus
Catullus's picture

Fewer people this year, higher concentration of assholes milling about getting in my way.

Tue, 12/24/2013 - 10:54 | 4273226 Jameson18
Jameson18's picture

 

This story can't be possible because yesterday I read this on ZH.  

Consumer Confidence Surges Most In Over 4 Years With Conditions At 6-Year Highs

Either ZH is full of crap OR THE GOVERNMENT IS LYING.

 

//
Tue, 12/24/2013 - 12:19 | 4273372 Winston Churchill
Winston Churchill's picture

"When it gets serious you have to lie".

Its beyond serious,draw your own conclusions.

Tue, 12/24/2013 - 10:56 | 4273227 rlouis
rlouis's picture

Street traffic past our local mall and nearby Target has been bad as ever.  But, Sunday evening an ambulance was at the mall picking someone up and then yesterday there was an ambulance picking someone up at the Target. 

Tue, 12/24/2013 - 11:21 | 4273275 Rentier
Rentier's picture

I hope so, want to see JCPenney crushed and making more bank on my 2nd round of shorts.

Tue, 12/24/2013 - 11:27 | 4273284 buzzsaw99
buzzsaw99's picture

bought some stuff there - sorry

Tue, 12/24/2013 - 12:19 | 4273370 Ostapuk Ivano
Ostapuk Ivano's picture

In case I forget, Merry Christmas Tyler...and Marla...

Tue, 12/24/2013 - 13:38 | 4273529 Rockfish
Rockfish's picture

Retail numbers are down because so many are saving for their down payment on a house this spring. ;)

Tue, 12/24/2013 - 14:28 | 4273641 squexx
squexx's picture

Why put up with crowds, traffic, parking, etc... Especially crowds of "youffs" looking for trouble or robbery targets. Easier to shop online anyway!

Tue, 12/24/2013 - 15:00 | 4273703 Bloodstock
Bloodstock's picture

Consider how the retailers have doomed themselves regarding Christmas. The biggest shopping season of the year is due to tradition which they have destroyed. No more Merry Christmas, just fuck off happy holidays. No appreciation for WHY we celebrate. The tradition destruction has destroyed their sales as well. They have destroyed the special reason as to why one should save and spend their money this time of year. Not to mention the fucked up monetary and trade policies etc. Fucking PC bullshit can go to hell! Ho! Ho! Ho! Merry Christmas!!!

Tue, 12/24/2013 - 15:47 | 4273789 donsluck
donsluck's picture

I assume the tradition you refer to is the solistice.

Wed, 12/25/2013 - 00:59 | 4274639 Promethus
Promethus's picture

I think Christmas is dying.  I see fewer and fewer lights, decorations and displays each year. Having to buy more crap to go through the motion of gift giving is stressing more people out especially when they are still paying for the crap they bought in 2006. Nobody over age 18 looks forward to Christmas anymore. Bah humbug.

Wed, 12/25/2013 - 23:07 | 4276011 lenitivelea
lenitivelea's picture

I work at a car dealership. Normal for this time of year is 20-25 "ups" a day, 30 or more on Saturdays.

Since about mid-November now, we've been lucky to break fifteen.

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