Dec 16, 2008

Get You Depression Pants On

My favorite website on the internet is iTulip. It's one of them financial websites, but they write so idiots like myself can figgur it out. Most importantly, they have been dead on with predictions for quite a while now. Today they commented on the huge sales we are about to see early next year, followed by the horror.
Many retailers, especially discount chains, have already cut prices to cost. Shopping with the wife at a nearby Mall this past weekend we spotted tumbleweeds rolling down the isles of full price, brand name retailers while discounters offered goods Made in China, Indonesia and other lands at absurdly low prices.

The shoppers marveled. They felt rich, no doubt, as they snapped up the well crafted goods using cash and credit earned at an exchange rate value they may not see again for many years, unaware of the ephemeral quality of the precious purchasing power they wield this holiday shopping season in the final act of a 35 year consumption fantasy financed by other peoples' savings.

The spectacle evoked images of ill fated vacationers picking fish up off the exposed sea floor at Bali resort beaches before the tsunami waters rolled back in to drown them, and the story of the young girl who happened to learn about tsunamis in school the week before and, recognizing the danger, talked her family into running for higher ground. I could not help thinking that a year from now many shoppers, blissfully unaware of the economic calamity that awaits them, will wish they’d understood the perversely low prices as a warning of economic trouble ahead and saved their money for later.

The holiday retailer strategy: those left with the least inventory after Christmas live to fight another day. Then the first half of 2009 goes like this.
  1. After Christmas sale 20% to 50% off
  2. Liquidation sale 50% to 80% off
  3. 30% to 40% of retailers go out of business
Advice to readers: take advantage of the early 2009 Great American Fire Sale and go out and buy all the generators, chain saws, washing machines, fine linens, and other durable goods you’re going to need for the next few years because by the end of 2009 most of the inventory may be sold through, many retailers will be shut down, and replenishment of stocks of the survivors will likely be meager; our models say that the goods import supply will decline more precipitously than the supply of money available to pay for them. That spells severe stagflation.
By a barrel and wrap it around your body to protect it from the elements. We are all about to be hobos.

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