Thursday, September 10, 2009

Soft Consumer Spending? Not At Outlet Store in MN

WSJ/WASHINGTON -- The U.S. economy continued to stabilize in July and August, but soft consumer spending amid a weak job market suggested that recovery will remain subdued. Consumer spending drives much of the economy. People are afraid to spend much because they have lost or are afraid of losing their jobs.

We keep hearing reports like the one above about "soft consumer spending." But then how do we explain this line of consumers standing in line waiting to shop at the Opitz Outlet in St. Louis Park, MN? The store had already been open for more than an hour and was already so crowded bargain-seeking shoppers had to wait in a long line to go in and spend money:

At least the bargain hunters apparently aren't afraid to spend money. It's great to see that "consumer greed" is alive and well in Minnesota. The smell of 90% savings must have a very strong, attractive, irresistible odor.

Thanks to Matt B for the photo.


At 9/10/2009 9:54 AM, Blogger Realist Theorist said...

There's no contradiction between "soft consumer spending" and rising Walmart sales while Macy's sales fall. Nor is there a contradiction between people feeling poor and rushing out when someone advertises "90% off".

Candidly, posts like this have made me wary of your blog. While one must be careful not to slip into depression hyperbole, it is equally self-deceptive to be a pollyanna.

At 9/10/2009 10:10 PM, Anonymous Six Ounces said...

90% off clearance sale.

Just a guess.

What are long lines supposed to tell an economist?

1. Price s are too low
2. Expectations are unreasonably high from imperfect information. The usual result is disappointment and an empty shopping bag going home.

If we take the sign at face value, what does 90% off tell you? It means the retailer is taking a loss on every item they sell.

If we don't believe the sign, then the line is the result of 2 above.

I don't see a picture of happy marketeers. I see a picture of a lying or failed retailer and hundreds of clueless suckers.

At 11/06/2009 11:45 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Actually, I have to disagree! I am a regular shopper at the above photographed store. It's AMAZING! They've been in business over 15 years and have always offered 70, 80, or 90% off retail prices on brand name designer clothing. I shop here weekly and the lines outside the door are from loyal customers that know where to find the best prices on the best clothing in the Twin City area! I don't mind standing in the line, even in the frigid MN winter, because I have saved so much money on my wardrobe! It's a fun mix of people that shop here and I often see local celebrities! In this down economy, this outlet store is the busiest I've ever seen it, in my 13 years of shopping here!


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