What the NASDAQ Is Saying About Retail Declines
It’s made national news: the NASDAQ is reporting decreased revenue for the retail space with the likes of JC Penny and Kohl’s being hit the hardest. This is leaving many to ask their building permit expediter: what is the NASDAQ really saying with these decreases? I get these questions for two main reasons: 1) I wrote an article about the retail decline being a myth and 2) fear that their projects, aka hopes for a future upturn in profit, won’t be approved by cities. Let me answer the first objection first: the retail decline is a myth. I will get into what the NASDAQ actually means this time around for retailers in this article, but the most important thing to remember is retail has been and always will be a profitable industry and the lessons we learn are still important.
Let’s start with breaking down what the NASDAQ actually means with these reports of a decrease: these decreases don’t actually reflect the present but actually information from over 2 quarters ago, additionally, decreases are being reported by companies that have been struggling for at least the last five years. Okay so, let’s look at the companies that are prophesying doom and gloom.
The Brands Reporting the Retail Apocalypse
Abercombie and Fitch: Abercombie and Fitch didn’t do well in Q4 of last year, amidst changing social consciousness and a seriously flawed public relations strategy. The CEO also allegedly made some disappointing comments about those consumers who were plus size. In today’s environment with millennials being more socially active than any other demographic since the 1960s, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that boycotts abounding from the alleged comments. Let’s take this a step further and apply what we learned during the post-recession boom. Consumers need, crave, and love experiences while they shop so that means if they feel affronted in any way they will not shop at the retailer. Is it seriously, any wonder Abercombie and Fitch are reportedly closing many of it’s North America stores? I’d say not.
That is not to say, however, Abercombie and Fitch can’t turn this around. They can take the brand that has been a mainstay in American nostalgia and create a more inclusive experience which could, and most likely would, spread like wildfire. As a building permit expediter, I’ve seen time and again what a brand refresh can do for a brand. Let’s say they stick with their gorgeous exterior facades and interior fixtures but include a virtual dressing room for millennials to play with in-store thus re-establishing their reputation as the brand of choice for discerning teens and young adults.
JC Penny: Poor JC Penny has been struggling for half a decade and it comes on the heels of many suppliers starting to withdraw their support in fear of the cashless nature the retailer is operating in. The sluggish winter months, AKA Q4 and Q1, showed such a decrease that many felt it was due entirely to the Amazon-affect. Numbers reporting at $180 million or 58 cents per share. (NASDAQ) The problem with this is many other stores are doing just fine, in fact, are showing profit increases. So what’s happening here? Well, for expert advice I asked a teenage girl working at a pizza shop near the mall. In Celeste’s sage advice no one shops at JC Penny because it hasn’t been relevant in “like a thousand years.” While I chuckled at her simple explanation I do think there is something to it. Does anything JC Penny sell truly resonate with consumers? Sure, we can buy appliances there, but we can do that almost anywhere-including from home while binge-watching a Netflix.
Sears: Who can forget the CEO voicing doubt in the brand’s ability to survive? Having the head of the company express fear in the company’s future indicates a sense of resigning to Sear’s fate. Stockholders would obviously not invest more money in a company that even their CEO doesn’t believe in. But, we must remember that Sear’s real estate arm, Seritage, is alive and well. Perhaps, the company has decided to pivot into real estate development and ownership rather than weather the retail landscape.
*I do want to note that all three of these retailers are clothing retailers and the bigger hits retail is taking is in the apparel business. I wouldn’t say this a hard and fast rule, but it is worth noting.
Overall Retail Increases
Overall, the NASDAQ revealed a surprise that the retail sale increase in April was above the projected percentile and expected to continue, after a slow and rocky start in Q1. The 4.5% increase was more than April of last year and leave many saying costumer sales are rebounding in time for the summer. What does this mean? This means that overall people are shopping again, they are going to outlets, they are eating out, and maybe even making larger purchases like automobiles.
What’s in This For Me?
Let me bring this home for everyone, including why a building permit expediter would be watching the weather, so to speak, in the retail industry.
- Retail Decline is Dependent on Type: Traditional department store retailers are being hit the hardest and I would say they must do something innovative if they want to survive the Amazon-affect, their survival depends on it. Apparel alone isn’t on the decline, just take a look at brands like Forever 21.
- Outlets are the Future of Retail: We are seeing a resurgence in outlet shopping as consumers are increasingly allergic to large prices for name brands. For more information on this trend check out my article: Permit Advisors Explains All About Outlets.
- Retail Has Been and Always Will Be Fine: E-commerce may have changed how consumers shop but it doesn’t change the fact that they do, and always will. Going into a shopping center with your friends and enjoying a coffee or even a meal will always be in vogue. People need places to meet and enjoy their hard-earned income.
About us: Permit Advisors Inc is a nationwide permit expediting, entitlement, and consulting firm based out of Beverly Hills, CA. We have established relationships with municipalities nation-wide and implement time as well as cost-saving strategies to efficiently complete projects. We provide a project management team to ensure every aspect of the project is given specific attention while maintaining open communication between the jurisdiction, consultants, and our clients. We serve retailers, architects, landlords, tenant coordinators, contractors, and franchisees nationwide in the hotel, retail, restaurant, mixed-use, multifamily, entertainment, grocery, and logistical plant development industries. Contact us today for a consultation at www.permitadvisors.com.