business news in context, analysis with attitude

Retail Forward’s June 2008 ShopperScape newsletter is out, with recommendations to retailers about what to expect in terms of consumer behavior as a result of the current economic downturn and fast-rising prices in a variety of areas. Among the suggestions:

• “Look for shoppers to use further cost-cutting measures to offset rising gasoline and food prices.”

• “Expect shoppers to move beyond coupon-clipping to buying more private brand and opening price point versions of items on their shopping lists.”

• “Anticipate that most shoppers will take a pragmatic view regarding shopping as they perceive they are getting ‘less for more’ - and in need of stretching their shrinking dollars further.”

• “Watch for shoppers to trade down - not only in terms of buying less expensive items where they typically shop for consumables but also in terms of shopping in more value oriented venues. Expect dollar stores and extreme value grocers to benefit.”

• “Don’t count on too many shoppers to go on spending sprees for big ticket items with their tax rebates. Most are using their rebates just to make ends meet or pay off debt.”

• “Think gift cards vs. the traditional tie for Father’s Day.”

KC's View:
As I said last week, I actually think a tank of gas would make a pretty good Father’s Day present.

But the broader message here has to be this – that business as usual simply is an unacceptable approach in 2008. These are tectonic events…not small trend shifts. And they aren’t going away – or back to the way things were – anytime soon. Or, in fact, anytime.