Shop Talk

Retailers, consumers and prices

Finding the humor in it all

March 6, 2009

There are very few things to laugh about in the retail world at the moment, but JP Morgan analyst Brian Tunick did a great job of adding some humor to what was a difficult week, especially for Gymboree.

Gymboree gave a bleak forecast for its first quarter, saying regulatory changes related the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act passed by the Congress in August 2008 will impact sales and gross margins in the first half of 2009. The act required the Consumer Product Safety Commission to begin enforcement of new lead and phthalate standards for children’s products on Feb. 10, 2009.

To try to make light of the situation, Tunick put together this humorous list of the Top 10 new issues that the Consumer Products Safety Commission has its eyes on, and he gave us permission to publish it:

USA-RETAIL/BACKTOSCHOOL10. Retroactive to August 2006, Forever 21 and Wet Seal shoppers must comply with new rules governing proper disposal of disposable fashion.
9. $98 ballet flats may only be worn while actually performing ballet. Or if someone’s inventories are up mid-teens.
8. Unless you can prove that you are attending a bachelor party in Vegas, the
Buckle must limit its customers to one item of Ed Hardy, Affliction or Obey per hour per day.
7. Unless you can prove that you are attending a bachelorette party in Vegas,
Bebe Sport must limit its customers to one rabbit fur performance vest and matching Bebe Baby (and we’re not kidding) metallic diaper bag.
6. A new 24 hour hotline has been set up for consumers to call if they’ve accidentally combined the highly volatile
Coconut Lime Verbena shower gel with Honey Suckle Dawn anti-bacterial hand foam.
5. Big box value retailers located within a 100 mile radius of an
Old Navy store must relocate immediately to help customers rediscover the family, fun and value that you can find ONLY at Old Navy.
ABERCROMBIE-EXPANSION/BRITAIN4. Abercrombie greeters and employees working in the front room must have no more than 8% body fat on the day they are hired and no more than 2% by the time Mike Jeffries makes a surprise visit to the store.
3. Beginning March 10th,
JOSB (Jos. A. Bank) must actually sell something in the store at full price.
2. All retailers employing
Debbie Phelps (The mother of Michael Phelps, who wore Chico’s clothes during her son’s historic performances at the Beijing Olympics) must increase the minimum content of novelty in novelty jackets, so that people might actually buy them.
And finally #1…….While we understand it may be tempting,
TJX and Ross Stores must restrain from selling lead tainted GYMB inventory to bargain hungry off-price shoppers.

(Photos: Reuters)


Great fun! Thanks for your article. I’m also chuckling (ha, ha–join me) at the Federal Reserve’s ongoing smokescreen hiding its plays among the ‘good ‘ol boy financial sector’ high-stakes game with our tax dollars—and dollars—and more dollars. Timing and insight are everything in these games. How long will they be able to get away with it, before American taxpayers pull their cards?

Posted by Shirley Freeman | Report as abusive

With a late Easter,I reckon there will be pent-up demand and shoppers will get out there, particularly if weather is kind, and give a kick start to retail sales. Lets hope this is the case!

retail Tony

Posted by retail tony | Report as abusive

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