Hunker down, adopt a bunker mentality, hoard cash and control expenses…that was the advice for retailers at the National Retail Federation’s 98th annual convention and expo held back in January in New York.
At the show’s opening Super Session, “The Sky Has Fallen: Now What?” J.C. Penney chief executive officer Myron Ullman 3rd told those in attendance, “I don’t see much positive growth in ’09. Sometime in 2010, we might start to see growth again.” Ullman added that cutting capital expenditure, being more prudent with inventories and adopting shorter lead times will help retailers survive this difficult period.
Among the many concerns raised was the specter of inflation. “There will be massive inflation in three to five years,” explained Peter J. Solomon, founder and chairman of the Peter J. Solomon Company. “The government can’t keep printing money at this rate.” Solomon added that attitudes toward spending will change as well, saying, “Over the last 25 years, the net worth of high income households increased. That’s not going to happen. Nest eggs aren’t going to be as big.”