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Tuesday, September 21

John Batchelor on Wal-Mart's ominous barometer of U.S. economy, plus Wal-Mart's new urban-centric expansion strategy

7:40 PM ET UPDATE
I sent the following post to The Glittering Eye's Dave Schuler, who closely tracks U.S. economic issues, for his comment. Dave replied:
See also the Consumer Metrics Institute's measures of economic activity. They differ somewhat from the reports we're getting from government agencies and the NBER. They work from real-time measurements rather than estimates, interpolations, or extrapolations.
Here's a partial quote from the institute that summarizes the chart activity they show:
"Looking ahead, should the 2010 event recover from its bottom exactly like the 2008 event did, it would still experience another 466 percentage-days of contraction before ending -- resulting in a grand total of 1058 percentage-days of contraction for the 2010 event, fully 33% more severe than the "Great Recession of 2008."

This, of course, assumes that stimuli comparable to those seen in 2008-2009 will be available to cause such a recovery during 2010-2011 -- and that unemployment quickly returns to the levels that helped consumer demand start to rebound in late August of 2008: about 6.1%. Absent fresh consumer stimuli and dropping unemployment rates, the consumer demand contraction we are witnessing could very well linger." [...]
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Wal-Mart Shoppers

Notes:
See the post at John's blog for accompanying video and the WABC-77 radio archive for the podcast (link) of his discussion with Miller. The CNBC mention and link relate to Velma Hart's headline-making question to Barack Obama.

Wal-Mart Growth
By John Batchelor on September 20, 2010

Spoke Rich Miller, Bloomberg, to learn the new explanation for the sluggishness we see in the malls and at the markets is that this is a growth recession. The GDP will rise to 2.5% and higher in 2011, but joblessness will also climb over 10% again, and the housing market will remain a blackhole for consumers and a drag on the recovery. There are 7-8 million homes with mortgages that are in some process of foreclosure. One quarter of the people who have stopped paying on their mortgage are still living rent free in their forceclosed home -- and most of these folk have jobs and are just making a practical decision to keep their money for the future and not pour it into an underwater hole.

The center of the trouble remains the joblessness. Am told it will last years, and that many people over 50 who lose their jobs will never work fully again.

Wal-Mart tells the tale that many of its customers are depending upon government assistance: the last day of each month, the stores fill up with shoppers at midnight who are waiting for their government debit cards to regain cash so they can buy food and baby formula.

The poverty rate for 55-64 is climbing quickly. Growth recession. POTUS was on CNBC in a defensive shell. POTUS does not evidence an understanding that his vastly expensive programs have retarded recovery by heaping on debt. Study shows that debt discourages growth because folk anticipate sensibly that there will be higher taxes.

POTUS trusts taxes. POTUS does not trust private investment -- which is why he thinks raising cap gains and taxing the rich will not deter growth. Wrong foot, wrong brain, wrong direction: and the White House is about to be spanked at the polls. The day after, the panic will begin. Wal-Mart growth recession.

Source Document
Bloomberg: Escaping Double Dip to Growth Recession Means No Unemployment Relief Seen
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John added a report to his comment section that's a 'must read' about Wal-Mart's new urban-centric expansion strategy:
Wal-Mart sets sights on San Francisco
by Andrew S. Ross
San Francisco Chronicle
September 21, 2010

As part of its new "urban strategy," the world's largest retailer, Wal-Mart Stores Inc., is looking to open two dozen stores in the Bay Area, I'm told.

Most of them are in the East Bay, but also on the Peninsula, in San Jose, and in the city that has always said, "No way, Jose" to the Bentonville, Ark., big-box giant.

But these aren't big boxes.

Instead, they are the "smaller format" stores favored by the likes of Trader Joe's Co., Whole Foods Market Inc. and the British supermarket chain Tesco PLC, whose Fresh & Easy "neighborhood markets" are coming to the Bay Area, including San Francisco's Bayview neighborhood.

And, like these others, they'll be primarily grocery stores, with plenty of fresh foods and prepared takeout.

"Wal-Mart is throwing out their old playbook," said Garrick Brown, vice president of research at Colliers International, a global real estate brokerage. "They're going after the urban market, which they haven't been able to penetrate, mostly because of their size."

"That's where the money is"

Wal-Mart has not disclosed details, but Brown said a company source put the nationwide number of planned new, city-centric stores between 300 and 400.

"Smaller designs, in the 20,000 -square-foot range, and mostly groceries - that's where the money is," said Brown, who noted that 51 percent of Wal-Mart's U.S. revenue came from groceries last year. [...]

Comments:
Just what SF needs. Will we see Nancy shopping in the frozen food section?
 
YIKES! Nancy pushing a cart at Wal-Mart! What a visual. LOL
 
Obama trusts taxes because he is an intellectual. Business has no use for intellectuals so intellectuals have no use for business. The Democratic party is an anti-business party because it is a pro-intellectual party.
 
Well, she could also be hawking her BoonesFarm Wine, oops Nancy wine. Imagine her trolling for sippers. Okay, that was too visual even for me. lol
 
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