“Sales Look Likely to Have Little Spring”
In the April 4, 2011 issue of The Wall Street Journal, Booz & Company Partner Karla Martin (North America) said that a projected 0.4 percent drop for March 2011 same-store sales from 25 retailers tracked by Thomson Reuters suggested that people aren’t looking to buy “much beyond necessities.” That comes as a setback for retailers since it would be their first decline in a year-and-a-half; figures from March 2010 showed a 9 percent gain, aided by an early Easter. But same-store sales for March 2011 mirror a decline in consumer confidence, amid concerns about low housing prices and high food and gasoline costs. Martin called these latest figures, “a bit of a canary in the coal mine, meaning April may not be terrific, either.” A sustained falloff would be a setback from the relatively strong figures retailers have been reporting as the deepness of the recession ebbed. “People came back pretty heavily after we hit bottom,” Martin added, “but at that time gas prices were relatively stable and there was pent-up demand to be worked off.”