Q: I know you’ve said before that we are in a slow part of a natural retail cycle, but I can’t help but think that sluggish sales may be related to something else – like a change in consumer behavior. Are there other factors affecting this slowdown?
Steve Pruitt: You make an interesting point. Yes, we are at the end of a very long period of retail growth so a slowdown is a normal part of the cycle, but we are seeing a change in some consumer behavior. This spending change is mostly among younger people who prefer to spend their money on experiences, such as travel and events, rather than high-end apparel.
But, our core consumers who love fashion are still spending money on apparel and accessories. We will probably see a larger change in our stores as the younger generation reaches middle age. That’s why it’s important that we convert younger customers into fashion lovers now.
There is another factor that is also affecting spending at this time, and that is general feeling of uncertainty among consumers due to global events. A rash of negative news stories and a contentious presidential election are surely weighing on the minds of consumers when they pull out their wallets. After all, our economic and political environment could look very different come January. If you want to learn more about how presidential election cycles affect retail sales, you can check out our free 11-page analysis at www.BlacksRetail.com. Please let me know what you think.
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