What’s next for our Economy?
Based on my own observations – as well as recollections from many people I’ve spoken with this holiday season – I have a feeling there will be MANY stores closing up in 2009 – both locally AND nationally.
How bad will it get?
Christmas shopping used to be a frenetic and stressful time. Crowded shopping malls, maniacal deal-seekers, zero parking, and migraine headaches. Other than those low-lives that trampled a Wal-Mart employee to death for some craptastic deal on bottom-of-the-line electronics – it seems as if retail sales were down tremendously this year.
For one, I didn’t even notice an increase in local shopping buzz here in Hoboken. Each and every day and night were no different than any other day of the year. In fact, it seems a bit LESS crowded in Hoboken (possibly due to the empty buildings and folks hunkering down at home to stretch their paychecks?)
I also went out to “Mall Capital of the World” (Paramus, NJ) a couple times. No traffic getting there – and minimal activity inside. Those kiosk owners in the middle were so desperate they were all actively seeking out conversations with passing shoppers. It was quite annoying.
Some others said:
“I went over to Newport Mall about five times before Christmas, and not once was it crowded. Some stores had NO shoppers inside. I remember in day’s past you couldn’t even walk in the mall it was so busy – not so this year!”
Toys ‘R’ Us:
“Took my son shopping there this week to let him pick out what he wanted. Normally, with hot items such as the Nintendo Wii, they had limitations such as “One Per Customer.” This time they asked me “How many do I want?” The store was so empty, the employees outnumbered the shoppers!”
Is this bleak holiday season just the tip of the iceberg? How many more layoffs, chapter 11 filings, and other bad economic news is still to come?