Sometimes it's no fun to be right. At the beginning of October, looking back at September sales, I opined that all was not as the headlines seemed. Wal-Mart
"Gonna be a great holiday season!" the optimistic biz press raved. "Consumers have plenty of firepower left!" I wondered if the analysts and headline writers had been eating too many of those gel packs that come in the pockets of new clothes.
Think about it.
When high-end retailers suffer while discounters thrive, I said, you're looking at evidence that consumers are feeling pinched, and that says bad things about the future. And so it looks today.
Pick an apparel seller. Pricey Abercrombie & Fitch
Foolish final thought
As the housing ATM has shut down and the bad news reverberates to Main Street, consumers are tightening their wallets. Gasoline prices have been mercifully slow-moving, as well, but they can't shrug off record oil prices forever. And as the dollar drops, the commodities from which our "stuff" is made get more and more expensive.
This all adds up to considerable uncertainty. This Fool is buying only one kind of retailer: best of breed, but best of breed whose stock has been spanked along with the ne'er-do-wells. Buy the good stuff cheap, and leave the rest alone.
More retail Foolishness:
At the time of publication, Seth Jayson, a top-10 CAPS player, had shares of Aeropostale, but no positions in any other company mentioned here. See his latest CAPS blog commentary here. View his stock holdings and Fool profile here. Fool rules are here.