On Saturday I did a quick retail survey as I arrived at The Time Warner Centre for lunch with a friend. As you would expect some stores were busy, others not so much. By far the healthiest looking numbers were in ‘nesting’ stores. Borders Books, William Sonoma and Whole Foods.
Clothing stores looked anemic with one exception. J Crew was the busiest I’ve seen it and with a much broader demographic than the preppies who usually inhabit it. My friends say they have witnessed the same thing and the media has reported that ever since the new First Lady disclosed her daughters wore J Crew coats to the inauguration there has been a bump in performance. Why bother with a $1 Trillion stimulus package – all we need is Michelle Obama to declare where she prefers to shop.
So it’s really not a quesiton of consumers not spending money but being very discriminating in what they are buying. Yes to a copper sauce pot, no to a new shirt.
Restaurants were exactly the same. Some as packed as ever others almost empty. All depends on the offering and quality.
Good brands with a reason to belong have nothing to worry about.