Thursday, July 05, 2012

The state of retail. Part 1.

When the retail numbers came out it bothered me. How could car sales be up so much when the rest of spending was flat? That doesn't make sense. People feel much more comfortable buying a 10 dollar mouse pad then they do a 20 thousand dollar car. You'd expect other retail items to be up a little.

So, I went to do a little retail non therapy. I wasn't shopping, I was seeing what other people were shopping for. I first landed at Fry's Electronics. I did a series of posts on June 17 where I talked about their sudden disappearance of merchandise. Here. Things have not gotten better. I would say they have gotten worse. It's like a going out of business sale, without the sale prices.

Fry's is a scary place to walk into now. They are dead, and they don't even know it yet. I would be more surprised if Fry's didn't file for bankruptcy by the end of the year, then if they did. You can see the lack of merchandise right when you walk into the front doors. And even in the checkout isle where you are completely captive and at your most willing to make impulse buys were starting to show gaps in merchandise. You can see the checkers in the back.

The end caps on the isles where also starting to show lack of merchandise. These are the areas were you put impulse items.

I didn't take that many pictures, because I basically covered most of that in my other post. Although I did go into TV's which I didn't do last time. Prices in TV's collapsed about a year ago, and I didn't see anything different so I thought they would hold up. Now in every isle in Fry's there is a missing TV spot. Which is not normal.

The thing that started getting me funky about this place was being able to park right in the front. Four times in a row. That is not normal.

The other "not normal" thing is the sales people. They are not clotheslining each other to get to you. I barely got asked once if I needed help. When we bought a laptop at Christmas we were already working with a sales person, and three of them literally boxed us in and they were trying to cannibalise the sale from the guy we were working with. One of them even stood right behind Mr. S. so he could barely move. It was the weirdest thing.

1 comment:

  1. I still think you're onto something here, although bankruptcy would probably take a few slow and painful years without any public debt.

    The news results on Fry's certainly aren't encouraging. Exhibit A.) they get caught refusing to price match their own discounts on their internet site. Didn't Best Buy end up with a slap on the wrist for the same thing? Policy choices like these are usually signs of short term thinking at the expense of long term sales.

    Exhibit B.) Randy Fry admits to colluding with the TV companies and publicly encourages TV manufacturers to continue to insist on the same price for all retailers. Isn't this sort of cartel behavior illegal? In the same article he also admits to having contacted state governors to push the internet sales tax on people since the online retailers are apparently cleaning their clock. When big business seeks government help instead of innovating, it looks pretty desperate.

    He also says that Fry's won't open up anymore stores if Obama gets re-elected because apparently President Money Bags is solely responsible for the country's economic problems. Lolz and a half,