Shop Talk

Retailers, consumers and prices

Vitamins, cheaper meat, infant clothes big recession sellers

April 15, 2009

USA-HOLIDAYSALES/Mike Duke, the newly installed CEO of Wal-Mart, has been watching the recession play out in the cash register at his stores.

In an interview on the Today Show, Duke took Matt Lauer on a walk through a Walmart store, and talked about how he is seeing his shoppers navigate the downturn.

  • They are buying bigger boxes of diapers at the beginning of the month, when they have just been paid, but gravitating toward smaller boxes when they run out of cash later in the month.
  • They are taking more vitamins, hoping to keep themselves healthy and avoid having to miss any time at work.
  • Infant clothes are selling faster than adult apparel as parents forsake the latest styles to keep their growing children clothed.
  • While flat panel televisions may seem like a splurge, they are more of a necessity when a family is spending less on entertainment outside of the home and forgoing vacations.
  • They are using cash more often to pay for their purchases.

When might Duke get a sense that consumers are feeling a little bit better about things?

He said possibly when more expensive cuts of meat start ringing up strong sales again.

(Photo: Reuters)


When more expensive cuts of meat are sold it shows only that people might have more disposable income but certainly not more sense in ways to spend it in a thrifty manner. By far, lentils, beans, nuts and leafy greens are the best choice for economic and nutritional benefit. Dollar for dollar you can make wise and healthy decisions by avoiding the meat isle and focusing on plant based foods. Overall you’ll also save on future healthcare costs by reducing/eliminating animal products.


Gemerally Walmart customers are meat and McDonald eaters although more new customers arrive at Walmart, Cosgo and Target daily, supporting what would be larger shrinking numbers.

Purchasing larger and better TV’s indicate they are only frugal in forced way’s but still are looking for instant gratification and seek justification of such spending.

Walmart can look to increased gasoline sales as a early harbinger of better times.

Don Jones


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