Everybody talks about the weather, but no one does anything about it, except use it as an excuse! Yesterday, it was the Obama Administration's own Lawrence Summers citing the weather as a reason for the stubbornly high unemployment (http://markostake.blogspot.com/2010/03/more-unemployment-more-excuses.html)!
This morning, according to a report aired on CNBC, reporter Diana Olick stated that the pending home sales index fell by 7.6% in January to 90.4. The index is based on contracts signed in January. The number came in much lower than expected despite an anticipated surge resulting from the first-time home buyer's credit. The index fell the most in the west - a whopping 13.2%! Hasn't snowed all that much here! Get your excuses together folks!
Retailers, however, despite the crippling weather, did BETTER than expected. I never knew this but shopping is helped by snow, while pending home sales and hiring are hurt by the white stuff. Someone ought to let Wikipedia know about this! Has anyone let Al Gore know about this climatological affect? If not, send him a subsciption to Marko's Take! Seems like global cooling is proving more harmful than global warming (sarcasm intentional!).
According to the Wall Street Journal, many U.S. retailers, especially those geared to teen shoppers, reported improved sales in February, thanks to easy year-ago comparisons and despite winter storms that crippled large swaths of the country(http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704187204575101290171056982.html?mod=djemTMB_h).
As retailers reported their monthly figures this morning, the industry appeared on track to report their sixth straight month of rising sales at stores open at least a year, known as same-store sales, with 70% of retailers surpassing Wall Street expectations, according to Thomson Reuters.
The winners say they came into February with lean inventories that minimized markdowns and they also saw some emerging demand. Those with disappointing sales figures are largely BLAMING THE WEATHER, as non-mall retailers appeared to struggle, including BJ's Wholesale Club Inc. and Costco Wholesale Corp., which both reported lower-than-projected quarterly results.
More important, observers said, will be how March shapes up because it is a longer month and will include this year more spending related to Easter, which falls on April 4, earlier than last year.
Nonetheless, February proved to be a healthy month for many retailers. Surprisingly, sales were strong from teen retailer Zumiez Inc., which reported same-store sales growth of 11% in February, compared with Wall Street's projection of 1.2% growth and last year's 13% slide.
Also strong was Limited Brands Inc., which reported a 10% increase in February same-store sales, benefiting from vibrant Valentine's Day-related sales at its Victoria Secret division, where same-store sales rose 10%. Limited's total sales rose to $600.1 million from $547.8 million a year ago.
On the weak side was Destination Maternity Corp., which reported a 9.3% drop in February same-store sales, while apparel and accessory store Stage Stores Inc. saw same-store sales slide 3.9%. Undoubtedly, it was the weather!
Marko's Take NEVER blames the weather! We're here, telling it like it is. Rain, snow, hail, or gloom of night! Hope the weather where you are isn't getting you down!
If you think the "Blame It On The Weather" BS has its merits, TAKE ME ON!
Our fourth episode on YouTube, which will unravel the mysterious Federal Reserve and take a peek behind the FED curtain, will be posted shortly. You can access it by clicking here: http://www.youtube.com/markostaketv.