But we may soon be seeing the bottom. The sales curve should begin to swing upward. I still believe, however, that we are going to see a holiday selling season that won’t be dramatically different from what we experienced last year. What I am seeing early on from last week’s Sachs Report survey is that you all believe it will be a poor selling season as well. Just about 28% of you believe it will be the same as last year and 24% believe it will be worse. Over half of you then are not looking for this to be a bounce back selling period. Retail sales are directly tied to consumer confidence and not the latest Dow Jones Averages. Unemployment is now over 10% and there is no way to spin that into any kind of hope or change for a holiday rush to mobile electronics retailers and shelves full of in-dash navigation decks.
I see this spring as a real opportunity for a few manufacturers to step up and take leadership positions with product and those that have the vision will also look at new distribution positioning. As long as the 12-volt initiative gains some traction, the new MERA learns how to become a force, and manufacturers start to get back to innovation, there is time for a little plastic surgery on the aforementioned face of this industry. It will take a collective strength to put it all back on the right track again, but it can certainly be done. It will necessitate strong visionary leadership.
That would then begin to bring back into focus the pretty face of this industry and a that’s a deal that you just can’t refuse.