The fourth quarter holiday selling season is upon us. What’s in store? Wild ride? A crash? Or just another frenetic three months of selling before everybody heads to Las Vegas for CES?
In mid September, the U.S. Census Bureau estimated U.S. retail sales in August 2006 were $368.2 billion, up 0.2 percent from July and up 6.7 percent from August 2005. Total sales for June through August 2006 were up 5.6 percent from the same period a year ago. However, the Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index, which had increased moderately in July, posted a sharp decline in August to 100.2, with an uptick in September to 104.5.
“The consumer has been getting some shocks,” says Joe McGuire, who was Tweeter Home Entertainment Group’s CFO before he became the chain’s CEO. “It started with gas, followed by the stock market, and that’s connected to interest rates, and now we have housing, which I think is going to have a bigger impact on things than most people do.”