Bleak Sales Report from Gottschalks

December 22, 2008 2:10:57 PM PST
Huge discounts do not seem to be helping the Fresno-based retailer get shoppers in the door.One Valley Economist predicts the numbers probably won't improve, until a new president is elected.

Trisha Adams considers herself a loyal Gottschalks shopper but like most consumers, is cautious about how she spends her money.

Trisha Adams: "I just go in looking for the big 50 percent off, 60 percent off take an additional 50 percent off, sometimes it just seems like they are giving it away the prices can be so good."

Apparently not good enough total sales for Gottschalks fell 8.1 percent in 2007 compared to 2006.

The retailer is just one example of how the weak economy is impacting sales at department stores all over the country.

Compared to last year, January sales dropped significantly at higher-end stores like limited, Macys and Nordstrom's.

Economist Henry Nishimoto calls it "downgrading".

Henry Nishimoto: "Instead of going to the high dollar stores, people will tend to cut back and go to the discount stores..."

Stores like the gap, JCPenney and target did not fare as badly and discount stores like Costco and Wal-Mart showed a profit.

Lindsey Prada, Target Shopper: "My sons whole wardrobe all his clothes are from Target because it's just as good quality that you would find at the mall, but at a lesser price."

Nishimoto believes sales overall will continue to decline until consumers' attitudes about the future change usually right after a general election.

"There is a flood of optimism that takes over the country after the election. So whether the democrats win or the republicans win you'll see the economy surge back."

Macy's department store also just announced it would cut about 23-hundred management jobs.

It's part of a move to consolidate some of its divisions following a steeper-than-expected drop in sales.


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