Monday, April 21, 2008

Radical idea: Buying only what you need

Somehow this makes news: "Consumers are buying what they need." Here's a summary report:
General retail sales in March were the worst in 13 years as consumers concentrated on "buying what they need," as Jennifer Black, head of an eponymous equity research company told the New York Times.

Reflecting a focus on the basics and low prices, sales at Costco and Wal-Mart stores open at least a year rose 7% and 0.7%, respectively, while most other stores reported declines. For example, comp-store sales at Target were off 4.4%, at Penney down 12.3% and at Kohl's off 15.5%. Even some higher-end retailers were down: Saks was off 2.9% and Nordstrom fell 9.1%.

So what happens if people only buy what they actually need? The economy collapses, because it's based on us all buying unnecessary stuff? So sad.


Anonymous said...

Upon further reflection, I wonder if the stores sited happen to be the stores where people are more likely to buy what they don't need, as in "oh I'll just run in Kohl's to see if there's anything new" (and it's cheap enough to not constitute a major purchase). As for the higher end stores, maybe the same is true for people with more money?

Anonymous said...

Yeah, that is very funny. They say it like that's some kind of crazy disaster. That used to be a virtue.

Mark (under construction) said...

Buying only what you need is not helpful advice - in a market driven economy that needs to keep growing just to maintain employment at current levels - I think in the US you need to grow at least 3-5% per year to keep things on an even keel.