Bitcoin’s November moves brings $10K in sights

What was one of the biggest selling items over the Thanksgiving weekend?

Bitcoin. The cryptocurrency jumped from a low of $7,980 on Wednesday to $9,732 early Monday morning. Continue reading

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Retailers won’t move into the black on Friday

Today is the so-called Black Friday, but that is not the case this year for retailers.

The term Black Friday came about as the day that retailers turn a profit for the year. Moving out of the red and into the black. Continue reading

Who pays retail on holiday shopping?

Cyber Monday, which is an anachronistic term, is happening today. The term came about when people had a V.32-baud modem at home and had to wait to get to work and a faster Internet connection after Thanksgiving to shop.

Now the term is bringing on the death of retail shops, since the shopping is not limited to Monday or even curtailed by store hours. Malls will have to find different anchor tenants as major department stores struggle to maintain relevance.

Black Friday online sales were the biggest revenue generator in history, given some $3.3 billion in cyber-purchases, a 21.6 percent increase from 2015, according to an Adobe Digital Insight survey.

So with technology aside, what is driving sales in an economy that is still not running on all cylinders?

I would be interested at looking into the distribution of online sales, which may be available sooner since it’s all digital.

Could President-elect Donald Trump’s election have brought a rosier outlook for some Americans? That’s where the data could give us insight.

I mention the Trump connection, since I am assuming the largest coastal cities, where wealth is concentrated, are still licking their wounds over the election. This crowd is “celebrating” with a stock market run up, with the S&P 500 since the day after Election Day being up 3.5%.

I’ll be looking for data that breaks out the geographic sales figures to see what we can derive from the weekend.

Savor the holiday, no rush to shop

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving in the US, which markets the beginning of the holiday shopping season.

Brick and Mortar stores are seeing the worse run up to the season ever. Macy’s, Sears and K-Mart decided it was cheaper to close stores before the shopping season even began.

In a desperate attempt to lure shoppers in, many large retailers started their Black Friday pricing a week before. And Web etailers are not immune to the practice offering Cyber Monday pricing well in advance.

High-end luxury shops are also fighting the uphill battle of whether to discount or not.

Unheard of practices of providing pricing comparisons in shops where the rule used to be “If you have to ask the price…” ¬†are occurring all along 5th Avenue in Manhattan.

So take the holiday tomorrow, I see no rush to buy your gifts early, during what my colleague calls Black Friday — Thanksgetting. By the middle of December the sales will probably be huge.

Happy Thanksgiving to all my readers.

 

Here comes the Fed with visions of interest rate hikes dancing in their heads

So we have initial data for US retailers after the Grey Thursday, Black Friday, Local Saturday and Cyber Monday, (Why do we have to hype and label these days to become more of a cheerleader than a reporter?).

The sales numbers have come in a far short of expectations with average spending over the period falling 20% from last year. This appears to be deep discounting by retailers on many items, including electronics and winter apparel, since traffic numbers appear to be about the same as last year.

The US consumer is much smarter than any economist working on Wall Street. Main Street is in a recession. Every metric you look at is seeing a contraction.

Gas usage in US is down some 14% from last year, and no that’s not because of¬†efficiency. Shipping containers are sitting empty around the world as trade grinds to a halt as measured by the Baltic Dry Index, which sits at a 5 year low. All commodities used for construction and expansion are at multi-year lows.

The margin squeeze for retailers this holiday season will be crippling to bottom lines. Deeper discounting after the holidays will be the order of the day, as they try to salvage the quarter which generally ends at the end of January.

Into this fray comes the Fed with visions of interest rate hike dancing in their heads. The idea that even the slightest tightening of credit will help the US economy as Europe, China, and Japan among others continue to ease, is foolish and ill-advised.

Since Main Street did not see much benefit to zero-interest rate policy, since wages did not grow and that the average wage is lower than 1995 levels.

So don’t think anything will get better for US workers as the Fed raises rates. No additional loans will be made, unless you want a car or a student loan.

May I suggest gift cards this year as presents. Easy to wrap and will have additional buying power during the post-Christmas fire sales.