| In our Consumer Talking Points over
the past few weeks, Boycott Watch stated the following:
1) Steel sales
up and down, meaning manufacturing is poised for a jump.
2) Donut and
coffee shop tips up, indicating renewed consumer confidence.
Watch prediction: H1N1 virus will cut into Christmas sales.
Today, on Black Friday, November 27, 2009, we see
mixed signals again. While we have seen vacant storefronts next to new
construction for months, today in Cleveland there were long lines at Starbucks
in the morning but little traffic on the road, far less than expected while
seeing traffic typical of Sunday morning.
we received reports mixed restaurant tips earlier this week, but strong tipping
last night. Tips are good indicators of consumer moods. This morning
restaurants were busy for breakfast, with business tapering off before mid-day.
Coffee shop traffic was low in the later afternoon which is typical.
In malls, parking lots were full as people were
bargain shopping. Boycott Watch believes what we are seeing are people shopping
early for specific bargains and consumers not wanting to go from store to
store. This indicates strong bargains at malls with incentives for consumers to
stay put. One local mall ordered three hundred dozen donuts for their shoppers;
the same amount they order every year indicating the mall expects to have the
same number of shoppers this year as in previous years.
The mixed signals may indicate strong Internet sales
to be reported. Cleveland is a typical Midwestern city and sales here indicate
what you will see nationwide.