STORES Magazine - July 2010 - (Page 8)

CONSIDER THIS / PRESIDENT’S PAGE Recovery’s Rocky Road BY MATT SHAY The Voice of Retail Worldwide STORES is published by NRF Enterprises Inc., J ust six months ago, retailers welcomed in a new decade with a certain sense of optimism. Now that we’ve passed the halfway point of 2010, companies are taking stock of the first few months and receiving mixed messages about whether they should be hopeful or concerned about what lies ahead. The good news: Sales for the year are currently pacing slightly above NRF’s modest expectations. The bad news: Without a substantial change in the unemployment picture, research indicates we can’t expect much more from consumers. There’s no question that retail sales through the first half of this year have exceeded expectations: spending rose 2.5 percent in the first quarter and an estimated 3.5 percent in the second. Truthfully, however, they didn’t have a particularly high bar to clear – by all accounts, the first half of 2009 was horrendous – and as we continue through 2010, these gains will be more difficult to achieve. How do we foster a sustainable upturn? In NRF’s opinion, real economic recovery revolves around one factor: jobs. NRF and retail executives have been talking about this for months. After all, an American without a job – or one who is worried about the security of an existing job – is a person who’s not spending. But despite government stimulus, our national unemployment rate continues to hover near double digits. At the end of June, new data that jobless claims rose sharply was another sign that the business community is continuing to shed positions to compensate for a struggling economy. The Census Bureau provided temporary opportunities for hundreds of thousands of Americans, but those positions will help people pay for basic, short-term necessities – they will not provide any kind of long-term stability for savings, major purchases or needed repairs. Instead of funneling money into more government jobs and programs, we would be better served if Congress focused on private-sector employment, which would help American businesses start hiring. At the very least, additional access to capital and tax incentives could enable retailers and restaurants to begin hiring back the 1.5 million people who lost jobs since the beginning of 2008. Retail sales and unemployment aren’t the only numbers telling a cautionary tale. Consumer confidence data from our partner BIGresearch was subdued again in June, declining for the second straight month. We continue to see a focus on practicality, and the number of Americans who said they were focusing more on needs over wants rose again last month. Consumers may be experiencing the same fatigue as many retailers, both groups hopeful for a lasting recovery but unsure when – or how – one will materialize. In time, the retail industry and the U.S economy will bounce back. But without marked improvement in the unemployment rate, how far off we are from a meaningful recovery is anybody’s guess. a subsidiary of National Retail Federation Inc., 325 7th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20004. (202) 783-7971 FAX (202) 737-2849 CHAIRMAN OF THE BOARD Terry J. Lundgren, Chairman, President and CEO, Macy’s, Inc. VICE CHAIRMEN Stephen I. Sadove, Chairman and CEO, Saks Incorporated Kip Tindell, Chairman and CEO, The Container Store PRESIDENT & CEO Matt Shay SENIOR VICE PRESIDENTS Denise Brassé, Industry Relations Mallory B. Duncan, General Counsel Michael G. Gatti, Communications David Hogan, Retail Operations and CIO Carleen C. Kohut, CFO Steven J. Pfister, Government Relations NRF Divisions Association for Retail Technology Standards EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR Richard E. Mader (202) 744-8217 National Council of Chain Restaurants PRESIDENT John R. (Jack) Whipple (202) 626-8187 FAX: (202) 626-8185 Retail Advertising & Marketing Association EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR Michael G. Gatti (202) 626-8117 FAX: (202) 737-2849 EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR Scott Silverman (202) 626-8132 FAX: (202) 626-8191 325 7th Street, NW Suite 1100 Washington, D.C. 20004 All articles published in this magazine represent solely the individual opinions of the writers, and not necessarily those of the National Retail Federation. 8 STORES / JULY 2010 WWW.STORES.ORG http://WWW.STORES.ORG

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of STORES Magazine - July 2010

STORES Magazine
Editor's Page
President's Page
Retail People
Corporate Leadership
Top 100 Retailers
Location Apps
Food Safety
Risk Management
ARTS Update
Point of View
NRF News
Retail Industry Calendar
End Cap

STORES Magazine - July 2010