Shop Talk

Retailers, consumers and prices

Happy shopping, and watch out for mall shootings


mall-shooting.jpg    The holidays are right around the corner, and the National Retail Federation has visions of tinsel, mistletoe and mall shootings on their mind.
    The NRF and International Council of Shopping Centers on Monday released guidelines to help retailers prepare for shooting incidents at shopping malls and retail stores.
    A joint effort with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and retailers, the plan deals with an “active shooter,” or individual actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a confined and populated area.
    “We live in a dangerous world and the stakes keep getting higher,” say the guidelines.
         The guidelines warn that a shooter may be a troubled current or former employee, or related to an associate with domestic problems.  
    They also encourage employees to create an escape plan and be aware that law enforcement first responders may show up in bulletproof vests and Kevlar helmets and be carrying rifles, shotguns or handguns, and might use pepper spray.  
    Only as a last resort when your life is in danger, the guidelines say, “Attempt to incapacitate the active shooter. Act with physical aggression and throw items at the active shooter.”  

    Some facts of note:
    – In 100 percent of the shootings the suspect was male.
    – In over 71 percent of the incidents, the shooter was between the ages of 15-25, with 20 percent ages 50-60.
    – In 24 percent of the shootings, the shooter committed suicide before police were able to respond.
     – Active shooter situations are often over within 10 to 15 minutes.    

     From 2004 through 2008 there were 17 shooting incidents at U.S. shopping malls and retail stores, with 34 killed and 33 wounded, according to the NRF. 


Check Out Line: Teens spending less, but super-rich still shopping


Check Out the sinking economy creeping into the lives of some of the most resilient shoppers — teenagers, whose need for fashion and fun often trandscends economic downturns.

shopper.jpgRising prices are forcing teens to cut back spending as their parents face mounting gas and food costs, declining home values and a credit crunch, according to a WSL Strategic Retail survey. 

Christmas is coming early this year, but not at Starbucks


starbucksholiday.JPG Christmas may be starting early for many retailers, but that isn’t the case at Starbucks.

While department stores like Macy’s are already in full holiday mode — hoping to get a jump on what is expected to be a dismal holiday season — the Seattle coffee shop chain is waiting until after Halloween and after Thanksgiving to serve up its holiday cheer.

It wouldn’t be Christmas without pink poodles in September


macys-008.jpgIt’s Christmas already at Macy’s and yes, indeed, the holiday is on sale.

More than a month ahead of Halloween, the U.S. department store chain has dragged out its colorful collection of ornaments, baubles and beads and discounted the price by 25 percent.

Check Out Line: August sales offer same old look


sell.jpgCheck out the same old sales story
Wal-Mart and other discounters: good. Saks and other high-priced retailers: bad.
The pattern seen over the past several months held again for August as cash-strapped consumers sought back-to-school bargains. 
Generally speaking, it’s bad form for little Johnny to show up for school naked and without notebooks and pens and pencils. So parents have to shop at least a little bit when school starts.
But as expected, they shopped where they could save money.
Back-to-school season can also set the trend for the key holiday shopping season. So the question becomes whether this will be a discount Christmas.
Employers are cutting back as much as they can, in order to be more profitable. That has led to a huge jump in productivity, but at the expense of jobs.
The August jobs report on Friday is expected to show that employers continued their job cutting in August.
Not a great sign for holiday cheer.
Also in the basket:
U.S. chicken industry still hurting – Sanderson farms
Polman a surprise pick to revive Unilever fortunes