Today’s a serious shopping day for serious shoppers.Black Friday is no longer a sport for the leisurely shopper. From our late-night rounds, it became clear that people were lining up all over in the dead of night (and some earlier than that!) not just for the fun of it but out of necessity.While many of the stoutest shoppers were grimly determined to get their deals and get out, there was some fun and holiday cheer.At a Best Buy in Springfield, Pennsylvania at midnight, the 50 people in line created an atmosphere part football tailgate and part Department of Motor Vehicle tension. A card table was set up near the end of the line, but the reception on that end was quite frosty, possibly “enhanced” by the consumption of cheap beer.But for the most part, the deals were the thing.Take Nate Bryan of Drexel Hill, Pennsylvania, who arrived at 2:30 am EST this year to get a laptop for his daughter.”It’s normally $1,000 and now cut in half. That $500 can go to other things,” he said.Laptops and big ticket items are favorites of this day, but they are not the only items.Debbie Techac, who works as a cashier at a supermarket, had waited for more than 12 hours outside a Best Buy in central Phoenix to buy a heavily discounted Dyson vacuum cleaner reduced to $329 from $549, two laptops — one of them a Sony — and some DVDs. She expected to buy the laptops for $200-$300.While many shoppers are looking to scale back spending, some of our early risers had other plans.Techac said she was spending about the same as last year, and felt fairly optimistic both about her own job security, and the outlook for the wider economy.”I have job security. I work at Fry’s. It’s a grocery store, everybody has to eat … I think (the economy) is going to get better, I hope.”Lou McAnany, a college student in Phoenix, was playing Monopoly on the sidewalk with his girlfriend to pass the time waiting for Best Buy to open. “I’m playing with fake money, wishing it were real,” he said with a chuckle.McAnany was lining up to buy a 40-inch LCD television, although he was not yet sure what brand or model, paying around $300, with savings of around $400, as well as an iPod and a Nintendo Wii.”I’m happy with the discounts, I wouldn’t be standing out all night if I weren’t. It seems like they are better than last year.”So, with all this buying, everyone will get something, right?Well…”Anybody old enough to get a job,” is being cut off this year’s Christmas list said Ayanna Brown, a 34-year-old Brooklyn resident who worked as a bookkeeper at a legal firm but lost her job last year, is now back in school and will graduate in June.”Around Christmas you have to splurge on the kids, so the grown-ups understand.”How has your Black Friday been? Any fantastic deals you want to share? What’s Number One on your wish list?Also in the basket:* What wine goes with pumpkin pie?* No Thanksgiving rest for retailers in sales race(Additional reporting by Phil Wahba, Tom Hals and Tim Gaynor)(Reuters photos)
The U.S. auto industry has had one heck of a year.Sales have fallen off, credit has been pretty much nonexistant and two of the major U.S. automakers were bankrupt. Other that all that, things were fine.But Bill Diehl, chief executive of advisory firm BBK, said at the first day of this year’s Reuters Autos Summit, that one of the main concerns for 2010 (if it’s not THE main concern) is the industry’s overall exposure to commercial real estate.We have been hearing about the problems with commercial real estate in many other sectors of the U.S. economy and Diehl gave the strongest statement so far about the auto side.(To hear Diehl\’s comments, please click here)The Reuters Autos Summit continues through Thursday in Detroit and Paris.
All week, we have been meeting real estate executives at Reuters Global Real Estate Summit who have discussed the many different areas of concern that have spread throughout the sector.Some have spoken about deleveraging. Some have told us about the shrinking of values. Others have said it’s a confidence game — as in, there isn’t any.But J. Allen Smith, chief executive of Prudential Real Estate Investors, brought it all together for us quite nicely.In Smith’s view, the real estate universe is subject to a confluence of all the above-mentioned problems and a few others as well. He sees it as a unique time and does not see a rebound for some time.It’s a daunting time to be in the industry, for sure, but at the end of his comments (which you can hear by clicking on the link below) he is starting to see a glimmer of hope here and there. After the past couple years, even a glimmer is a pretty welcome thing.Smith was one of our featured speakers at this year’s summit, which continues through the end of this week. Reuters has exclusively interviewed guests in our offices including New York, London, Shanghai, Mumbai, Sydney and others this week.For more on Smith’s comments, please click on the attached link right below:Allen Smith, CEO, Prudential Real Estate Investors
Everyone likes to set records. Think about those two giant twins who felt the need to ride motorcycles for their Guinness Book of World Records picture. What were those guys thinking?Well, after many Reuters Summits, it seemed we set a record on Monday for the use of the word “crap” in one session.It’s not a particularly glorious achievement, of course, but when thinking about the state of the real estate industry these past few years the words could have been a lot more nasty.At the Reuters Real Estate Summit today, Richard Jones, partner at the Dechert LLP law firm and co-chair of the firm’s real estate group, spoke about the kinds of deals that will have to get done to help get the ball rolling on the many restructurings that need to be completed industry-wide in the next few years.As there are a great number of troubled loans out there, the question of what happens to the worst of them (jokingly granted an effluent-style nickname). Jones, who advises clients on almost every side of an available real estate transaction, gave a good sense of exactly what will have to happen to start seeing the market swing back into action.Jones was one of the featured speakers at this year’s summit, whch continues through this week around the globe. Reuters will be welcoming guests to centers including New York, London, Shanghai, Kuala Lumpur and Sydney.For a chance to listen to Jones’ thoughts, please click on the link below:Richard Jones, Dechert LLC
Not a lot of goodness and cheer in the real estate industry these days.In the first day of our annual Reuters Real Estate Summit, our first few guests were not seeing a lot of the so-called “green shoots” that other parts of the U.S. economy are supposed to be seeing.There are still an enormous number of troubles out there — including a lack of available credit and the dire need to restructure many loans made during the go-go days of a few years ago.While the homebuilders and their stocks have been walloped the past few years, the attention this week (so far anyway) has been on the commercial side.When things are bad, people often choose one of two routes — 1) head down, full of despair and loathing; or 2) hoping that the worst has happened and better days are right around the corner.For Jacques Gordon, chief strategist at LaSalle Investment Management, he’s hoping for the best, but knows there are still some major work to get done.Gordon was one of the featured guests on the first day of the summit, which is being held this year in cities around the world, including New York, Beijing, London, Mumbai, Sydney and Kuala Lumpur.For the audio clip of his comments, please click on the following link:Jacques Gordon
All the infrastructure projects in the world sound great! They look awesome on paper, they’ll make people’s lives better and they’ll let us go visit our friends and families in about half the time it used to take.
It’ll be a dream world!!
Well, unfortunately, we are going to have to pay for all these projects at some point and all of the guests at this year’s Reuters Infrastructure Summit acknowledge that the paying is the hardest part.
This week, all of these kinds of phrases are much on the mind of our guests at the first ever Reuters Infrastructure Summit held in New York, San Francisco and Washington.
While infrastructure means different things to almost all of our guests (schools, roads, bridges, etc) — one of our first guests, Petra Todorovich, talked at length about the need for high speed rails.