Newsflash: Retailers Report Disappointing Dismal Lackluster Anemic Grinchlike 2009 Christmas Retail Season

Whining Likely Even More Extreme Than Usual This Year

Dateline: Dec 17, 2008

Here's an early scoop: The "lackluster" 2009 Christmas retail season will "disappoint" retailers, have "anemic growth", and be "dismal". There will be more grinch sightings than "Ho Ho Ho"s or "Cha-Ching"s, and National Public Radio will interview the disappointed retailers and the shoppers, who will be "more cautious" and "looking for value", perhaps forgetting that they've made the same report several years in a row. There will be similar stories from the Associated Press, New York Times, and various newspapers. I'm pretty confident in making this report a year early, because it is as much a Christmas tradition as shopping for junky toys, is growing in persistence and consistency the last few years especially, and is a relatively easy way for mass media to churn out meaningless human interest newscasts. Here's a compendium of these lame headlines and drivel from the articles from the last 21 years, organized chronologically by the abysmal Christmas season they pertain to:

1987
Penny Singer, NY Times Jan 10 1988:
PREDICTING THE PULSE OF THE ECONOMY
"Retailers who got the warning started to watch inventories closely and judging from the flat retail Christmas sales figures that were recently posted, we were right on target."


1988


1989
Mark Potts, Washington Post Dec 22 1989:
Retailers Banking on Last-Minute Shoppers
With many stores' revenues running not much better than last year's levels, area merchants are banking on a late shopping surge this weekend to salvage what is being widely regarded as the most difficult Christmas retailing season in years.


1990
Miami Herald Dec 28 1990:
CHRISTMAS SALES DISAPPOINT RETAILERS
basically "it was a disappointing Christmas ... And the retail season isn't expected to improve significantly any time soon. ...

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (PA) Dec 27 1990
POST-HOLIDAY SALES MIRROR RETAIL BLUES

NY Times Jan 15 1991:
Retail Sales Group Told Recession May Be Short
Yet the recent disappointing Christmas season was not forgotten as a noon-hour speaker at the Sheraton looked around at an audience of 500 and remarked, "I didn't see this many people in our stores during the entire month of December."

1991
Jan 4 1992 LA Times:
WRAPPING UP CHRISTMAS '91 Another Dismal Retail Season
It Was Third Disappointing Year in Row ...

1992


1993
Rocky Mtn News Jan 7 1994:
RETAILERS REPORT MIXED DEC. SALES CHRISTMAS NOT MERRY FOR ALL MERCHANTS

ASSOCIATED PRESS Jan 7 1994
The nation's biggest merchants made their final assessment of the 1993 Christmas season Thursday, issuing a mixture of December sales figures that showed how volatile - and vulnerable - the retailing business can be.


1994
NY Times Dec 26 1994:
Retailers' Christmas Wishes Didn't Come True This Year

NPR Robert Siegel Dec 26 1994:
RETAIL SALES DURING HOLIDAYS FALL SHORT OF EXPECTATIONS A season of disappointing retail sales. ... We had nothing to suggest that it's going to be a good Christmas season so, obviously, ... Despite a relatively strong economy, the nation's retailers report sales figures were disappointing this Christmas season. The reasons cited ranged from consumer uncertainty to warm weather.

1995
NY Times Dec 27 1995: Retail Sales Rose Before Christmas, but Season Disappointing

Milwaukee Journal sentinel Jan 8 1996: strength depends on consumer Disappointing retail sales... Because retailers were over-extended even before Christmas, the disappointing sales will lead many of them to restructure and consolidate before restocking ...

1996
Philadelphia Enquirer Rachel Beck Jan 3 1997: RETAIL LANDMARK TO CHANGE AGAIN AS CHAINS REPORT SLOW SALES \ DISAPPOINTING HOLIDAY SALES FOR J.C. PENNEY AND DAYTON HUDSON
There was more Grinch than glory at some of the nation's largest stores this Christmas. Shoppers watched their wallets at J.C. Penney and Dayton Hudson Corp., which reported disappointing holiday sales, and at CompUSA, where second-quarter sales rose only 1.5 percent from a year ago. While most retailers won't report their December sales until Thursday, yesterday's reports suggested that the season will fall short of expectations, with only slight sales


1997
LA Times Dec 27 1997: CHRISTMAS: AN EPILOGUE; 1997 Rings Up Disappointing Sales; Retail: Despite strong economy, gains over last year are modest. Shifting consumer attitudes are cited.

1998
LA Times Dec 27 1998:
Shoppers Go Hunting for Big Bargains; Retail: Stores hope weekend crowds will boost a lackluster holiday shopping season. Early predictions of robust holiday sales across the nation began to fizzle in the weeks before Christmas ...

1999
Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News Dec 14 1999
Newport News, Va.-Area Retailers Report Disappointing Holiday Sales.
Dec. 15 -- Like the child who pleads to Santa Claus for a pony, regional retailers might be disappointed come Christmas morning: Hampton Roads consumers seem to be reining in their holiday spending.

AP Dec 23 1999:
Just hours after unwrapping their Christmas gifts, many Americans are ready to ... and has helped make up for disappointing sales during the holiday season ...


2000
Philadelphia Inquirer Nov 23 2000:
RETAILERS LESS MERRY THAN WARY AS HOLIDAY SALES SEASON BEGINS

LA Times Dec 27 2000:
Discounts Not Enough to Revive Weak Season; Retail: O.C. malls' light post-holiday sales are representative of disappointing quarter.


2001
Santa Rosa Press Democrat Dec 18 2001:
`CONSUMERS ARE STILL CAUTIOUS'

Contra Costa Times Dec 27 2001:
AFTER CHRISTMAS -- DISAPPOINTING RETAIL SEASON COMES TO AN END

LA Times Dec 7 2001:
THE NATION; Holiday Sales Are Soft, but It Could Have Been Worse

2002
LA Times Dec 25 2002:
Closings, Filings May Be in Store; Third disappointing...
Barring a surprise post-Christmas buying surge, the 2002 shopping season is expected to be lackluster at best -- the third disappointing year in a row for ...

USA Today:
Holiday-shopping season 'disappointing'...

Dec 31 2002 LA Times:
Disappointing Season for Retailers; Post-Christmas buying is not strong enough to offset weak holiday sales at Wal-Mart and Federated stores.

2003
Dec 24 2003 Alex Chadwick, NPR: Analysis: Disappointing retail sales this holiday season and what it might mean for the economy as a whole.
And it's the last shopping day before Christmas and a lot of store owners are hoping for a sudden rush at the malls. Despite early predictions of a healthy holiday retail season, this one has actually been more ho-hum than ho, ho, ho.


2004
Minneapolis Star Tribune Dec 3 2004:
So far, not much joy in hearts of retailers; Many retail chains reported lackluster November sales, but a trend toward later shopping may yet bring a merry holiday.(BUSINESS) "You're probably getting tired of hearing about all the disappointing news on the retail front, but this certainly fits that category," Niemira said

International Herald Tribune Jan 5 2005
Woolworths blames bargain hunters for disappointing Christmas sales

Times of London Jan 11 2005
Shops Count the Cost of Their Worst Christmas for Ten Years


2005
Miami Herald Dec 29 2005
CASH REGISTERS DIDN'T JINGLE MOST RETAILERS' BELLS


2006
Wall Street Journal Dec 27 2006:
The day's big news was a series of disappointing holiday-shopping reports from sources including MasterCard and the National Retail Federation, indicating retail-sales gains were lighter than last year.

2007
Vittorio Hernandez - AHN News Writer Dec 7 2007:
Christmas 2007, Slowest Holiday Season In The U.S. In 5 Years
New York City, NY (AHN) - Christmas 2007 will likely be the slowest holiday season the U.S. will experience in five years, according to the National Retail Federation.

MARY SHEDDEN, The Tampa Tribune December 15, 2007:
Retail Countdown: 2 Weekends Left
Today marks the start of the final push toward Christmas and the most important days for retailers hoping to add a final boost to an otherwise lackluster year.


Wall Street Journal, Dec 26 2007: Retail Rush Falls Short, Now Come More Sales.
Factoring out Gasoline ... retail sales increased a lackluster 2.4%. Industry forecasts had predicted gains of 3.5% to as high as 4.5%.
USA Today, Dec 27, 2007:
Retailers hope post-Christmas Sales can Save the Season
Facing unimpressive pre-Christmas sales, ...
The International Council of Shopping Centers said same-store sales, or sales at stores open at least a year during the November-December period, appear to be coming in just below meager projections, though it said post-Christmas buying could help restore the shortfall.

2008
Belfast Telegraph, Dec 22, 2008: Christmas Retail Slump has made deflation fears worse
San Francisco Sentinal, Dec 5, 2008: Experts Predict Worst Christmas Retail Season in Decades
US News and World Report Jan 8, 2009: The Grinch Stole Christmas: Retal Sales Plunged 4 Percent in December
etc etc

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