A combination of Legislative mandates, the Stimulus Plan, reduced competition and new consumer savings and income could result in surprisingly robust retail sales by the Fourth Quarter of 2009.
I’m not an expert on retail but I do have an excellent track record of analyzing economic and political trends and forecasting future events. An unusual confluence of factors are coming together which could bring a pleasant surprise to the devastated retail industry.
First, The Term Asset-Backed Securities Loan Facility (TALF) is a new, one trillion dollar, program designed to ‘unlock’ consumer credit that will begin on March 17. Secondly, the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act which took effect on February 10, prohibits the sale of imported products that contain lead or phthalates. It is estimated that there is more than $600 million in toys alone made illegal by the law that are sitting in warehouses. The Coalition for Safe and Affordable Childrenswear says its members have $500 million in unsalable soft goods. And, there’s $125 million of motorized bikes, four wheelers, all which totals over $1 trillion dollars, according to an article by Joseph Pereira in the March 5th edition of the Wall St. Journal.
Thirdly, is the large number of retail chain stores and mom and pops outlets that have closed in the past year and inventories of the survivors have been slashed to minimums. A shortage of goods coupled with tax rebates and consumer savings could create a classic supply-demand imbalance going into the Christmas season. Toys, in particular, could be in short supply. Retailers could achieve pricing power and well-needed profits will follow.
The downside? This imbalance could trigger the beginning of an inflationary cycle that would carryover to the entire economy. But that’s what the Fed, the US Treasury, and the politician’s objective is, right?
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I’m currently writing my follow-up book to “The Aftermath of Greed.”.
--H L Quist