October 04, 2012
Ronald Friedman, Co-Leader, Retail/Consumer Products Industry Group, Quoted in MarketWatch Article "Retailers' Miss Raises Holiday Concern"
By Andria Cheng
U.S. retailers’ September comparable store sales slowed from the summer trend, heightening the stakes for how the upcoming holiday season will play out.
September serves as an important gauge for retailers ahead of the crucial holiday selling period because it’s the biggest month of retailers’ fiscal third quarter, representing about two-fifths of their total for the quarter, analysts said.
“I just don’t think it’s going to be a great fourth-quarter holiday season,” said Ron Friedman, partner of retail and consumer product practice at national accounting and consulting firm Marcum, which counts branded manufacturers and retailers as its clients. “The consumer is concerned. We are going to a slowdown again.”
However, overshadowing that, consumers finishing their back-to-school shopping meant there’s no urgent reason for many to return to the stores. Shoppers also took a pause amid concerns about the coming presidential election and still-mixed economic news, analysts said. The overall upward spiral in gasoline prices signaled consumers have less money to spend on things beyond staples.
“I’m paying $4.50 a gallon for gasoline,” Friedman said. “I wasn’t paying that a year ago. The overall trend of fuel costs means less consumable dollars to spend.”
He said retailers such as Wal-Mart, Target and Costco that sell tremendous amount of food “will continue to do fine,” while retailers such as Kohl’s and Macy’s may be hurt.