Yesterday we heard from the CEO of the world's biggest company that the exuberant jobs data did not reflect any economic reality Wal-Mart was seeing. Overnight, William Arthur Tindell, CEO of The Container Store, further destroyed the myth of a 'recovery' stalled by 'weather' and threw the rest of his 'retailer' brethren under the bu:"We thought our sluggish sales were all because of weather and calendar shift...but now we've come to realize it's more than that, consistent with so many of our fellow retailers, we're experiencing a retail funk."
Container Store CEO William Arthur Tindell
"We thought our sluggish sales were all because of weather and calendar shifts in the fourth quarter. Going into this first quarter, we had whatever bug we had, weather and calendar shifts for Christmas that began last November and continued into the spring, but now we've come to realize it's more than just weather, consistent with so many of our fellow retailers, we're experiencing a retail funk, I mean, so many retailers that we talk to are experiencing that."
and from the Q&A
"We're certainly doing everything we think we should and can do to try to both improve traffic and average ticket. But in this sort of more tepid environment that we're in, we really felt as though the appropriate thing to do was to really lower that guidance for the next two quarters particularly in light of the fact that these -- some of these great initiatives we're talking about don't really have much of an impact to the shorter term. So, that was really sort of what drove our thinking, it's just -- we didn't want to unrealistically expect that trends would dramatically turn quickly."
and in his summary
"Our highest-end customer seems to be a little bit infrequently shopping us for some darn reason and so does the – I mean we have a very uneven economic recovery still. So for a long time it was the lower-end retailers we're suffering and the higher end, we're doing better and we were doing better. Now, it seems to be more democratic. It seems to be kind of across the board."
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Simply put, if 'weather' had been to blame - as has been scapegoated by everyone - then there would/should be a massive buying surge in Q2 (which is absolutely not what firms like Wal-Mart and The Container Store are seeing)
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Does that sound like the kind of recovery that is producing "great" jobs? Does that sound like the kind of economy that can withstand a tightening Fed? With the Fed cornered into having to step back (or totally break the repo market 'glue') we suspect the engineered collapse that the BIS has 'asked for' is closer than many think (and the Fed all too happy to step back in 'after' to save the world again).