Retailers Post Weakest March Sales in 13 Years

A couple of days ago I noted here that most Americans are “glum” on economic progress in America.

As a small business owner I keep my eye on the economic news and I have contended here long before the media began to speak more frankly about the economic state of our nation, that the economy sucks.  

Today, AP News reports:

The nation’s retailers reported the weakest March sales in 13 years on Thursday as consumers — fretting about mounting economic problems and enduring a frigid Easter — limited their shopping to food and other essentials.

With prices at the pump rising and worries about jobs increasing, shoppers bought basics at discounters and wholesale clubs and snubbed mall-based chains’ clothing, jewelry and furniture. The earliest Easter in 95 years also hurt sales; shoppers weren’t in the mood to buy spring clothing in cold weather.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Costco Wholesale Corp. were among the best performers. Wal-Mart raised its earnings outlook, noting that better inventory control helped to limit markdowns on merchandise.

Last months, The Conference Board, a business-backed group, said, “‘consumers’ outlook for the economy was the gloomiest in 35 years.” Contributing factors to the gloomy, glum outlook: “A deteriorating economy, soaring food and gas prices, limited credit and slumping home prices.”  

The Bush administration insists that economic growth should “revive this summer when 130 million households start spending their economic stimulus checks.” Good luck with that…

Janet Hoffman, managing partner of the North American retail division of Accenture, and other analysts believe that any sales lift at stores will only be temporary, however. And many believe that shoppers will use a chunk of the money to pay down debt.

Don’t hold your breath for things to improve anytime soon. The per barrel price for oil continues to rise and so does the price at the pumps.


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6 Responses to Retailers Post Weakest March Sales in 13 Years

  1. john stone says:

    Our economy is pretty good,George Bush said it is, so it is. Seriously though,with this Iraq War and the high and going higher gas prices what do you expect? Our economic woes are just more of what we get with Buh-Cheney. If we end up with McCain it will just be more of the same.

  2. Gilbert Martinez says:

    John Stone, Obama has a lot of the old-school Chicago school economic advisers. You know the one’s who go around telling Canada to ignore Obama’s rhetoric against NAFTA. The same advisers who tell him he should dog-whistle Social Security woes. The same advisers who reject universal health care.

    I believe that the country will be better off no matter who of the remaining candidates becomes president, including McCain. However, I think Obama is a risk. I do not know his true ideals given his tendency for banal eloquence rather than proposals. Given his short time on the Hill, and seeming lack of knowledge and reliance on advisers I have to go by who is advising him. And, frankly, I don’t like what I see.

  3. I am afraid it is going to take a while for the economy to straighten out. I remember fullwell the mess we were in after Bush, Sr. I think the Clinton years were far better. And I hope… hope that we end up with a Dem in the White House because traditionally the economy does fare better under a Dem administration.

    I can’t imagine we would be in this mess had we been in our 3rd year of a Kerry presidency.

  4. Pingback: Tough Times « The Krile Files

  5. john stone says:

    I respectfully disagree with Mr. Martinez. I believe a McCain Presidency would be a continuation of the Bush-Cheney Economic Policies. I strongly agree with Pamela, if we were in our third year of a Kerry Presidency, our economic condition would be better. Much better.

  6. Come November and folks are going to be looking at the economic mess, among others, and decide that there is just no way that we can take a chance on another Republic in the Whitehouse.

    Unjustifable bloodshed from our troops and inordinately skimpy household budgets have a way of making voters look for something different.