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Saturday, January 15, 2011

Honest journalism - Christmas shopping


A&G often takes a harshly critical position where the mainstream media (MSM) is concerned, particularly when it comes to their coverage of economy and finance.  And usually this tone is for good reason- the MSM often act as a mutation between stock market cheerleaders and governmental 'Stepford Wives', regurgitating repeatedly the official line that the nation is in fictional "recovery".

There are special occasions however, when MSM does its job and reports honestly.  And when this occurs, it is as important that A&G acknowledge this as quickly as we are to condemn them.  Here's an example...

Remember all that nauseating nonsense starting around Black Friday through Christmas where the news was Constantly trumpeting that this holiday season was 'The BEST Ever!' and that the shopping season was proof-positive that this nation was in a strengthening recovery period?      Then remember immediately after Christmas when honest news accounts of strong sales for 'some' stores while weak numbers for others, started being reported in drips and drabs? Then the news that Tiffany's and Cartier were among strong sellers while Target, Wal-Mart and Best Buy floundered, which emphasized the 'Two Americas' A&G keeps pointing out- Remember that?

And now... some honest reporting...

(1/14/11)  Holiday "spending" record not as good as it looks (AP) --  "Holiday spending reached the highest level on record last year, but that news isn't as good as it sounds.


The $462 billion in holiday spending reported by a trade group on Friday handily tops the $453 billion peak reached in 2007, before the economy took a nosedive. Take a closer look, though, and you'll find these figures don't tell the whole story.

Just because Americans spent more this holiday season doesn't mean they bought more. That button-down shirt you bought your father in 2010 probably cost more than it would have three years ago. But the government figures on which the National Retail Federation bases its holiday sum do not take into account rising prices. Although inflation has been tame over the past few years, holiday spending would have had to clear $478 billion to signify spending was back to pre-recession levels."


~  That's a sales differential of minus $16 Billion 

"That's not all.

The population of the U.S. has grown by 8 million people since the previous record was set. That means there were millions more shoppers in stores this Christmas, driving up the sales total. But the average spending per person is still lower than it was a few years ago, suggesting consumers are still slower to pull out their wallets.

"Everyone is talking about great holiday sales... But even if spending surpassed its previous peak, the population has been growing, so we're still catching up," said Chris Christopher, senior economist at IHS Global Insight.

From consumers' perspective, the economy hasn't improved dramatically from last year, as credit remains tight, unemployment hasn't budged below 9 percent, and home values are still depressed. Consumer confidence is hovering at the same level as a year ago and well below the point that signals a stable economy."

~  Funny.. I Never saw AP mention this in any retail article in Nov & Dec..

"In several categories, spending on gifts fell short of shoppers' 2007 outlay. In 2010, consumers spent $50.7 billion on clothing and accessories like shoes and scarves; in 2007, that figure was $51.3 billion even before adjusting for inflation. Holiday revenue at department stores was $45.3 billion last year, much less than the $50.4 billion that traded hands in 2007.

Spending at stores selling sporting goods, books, craft supplies and music was about the same this holiday as in 2007."

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