Is Lucky’s Wal-Mart version helping their shoppers discover better places to spend their money?
Checkout counter-cyclical? Knowing my fascination with Wal-Mart, one of this weblog’s seven readers (who is not a fan of the big box retailer) just e-mailed me a link to a Daniel Gross “Moneybox” piece on Slate.com regarding the surprising news that Wal-Mart announced its early Christmas sales are lower than projected. Does this mean the consumer-sector of the economy is hitting the skids? Apparently not, as other retailers are reporting optimistic, even robust, numbers, according to sources like ShopperTrack.com which reported that, overall, retail “sales for the week ending November 27 as compared to the same period in 2003 were up a healthy 11.6 percent. (ShopperTrack did note an “erratic weekend” that included a robust Friday and an off Saturday.)
Daniel Gross wonders if this sales disappointment from Wal-Mart means that its potential for growth has run out of steam.
However, I’m guessing (and it’s a complete guess) that a flat Wal-Mart performance vs. an improvement in overall retail performance suggests shoppers feel better about the economy. Perhaps those who “scaled back” the last few years and flocked to Wal-Mart and Sam’s are tip-toeing up-scale this season. No doubt, they’ll stick to Wal-Mart for the basics and commodities, but perhaps this year (at least early on), the word “Wal-Mart” is not popping to shoppers’ heads when they think, “splurge.”
But don’t pay too much attention to my guess, as my other theory is that Wal-Mart shoppers have been purchasing copies of that Wal-Mart version of Lucky Magazine and instead of reading the special Wal-Mart section, they are discovering there are other hipper places to shop. (Note: I don’t really have that theory — it’s a joke, people.)