The Speculist: Withering Retail


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Withering Retail

Almost three years ago I wrote a post entitled "Things are About to get Interesting."

My thought then was that fab labs will change everything. Why have huge retail stores when most of the things you need can be quickly manufactured at a local commercial fab lab or at home?

I still think that fab labs will be part of what pull us away from the SUV/Wal-Mart lifestyle. But the fab labs haven't really arrived yet, and we are already shifting away from retail shopping. The New York Times informs us that this year's Christmas sales rose only 3.6% over 2006, but that online shopping rose 22.4%. This is double-bad-news for Wal-Mart. Their pie's not growing much...AND Amazon's getting a bigger piece.

[ - H/T to the JammieWearingFool]

Phil and I visited about the advantages and disadvantages of online Christmas shopping at the beginning of this week's FastForward Radio show.

UPDATE: Well, I should have picked a retailer other than Wal-Mart. My wife reminded me that Wal-Mart does a lot of business online.


Maybe the example you want to use is Target? They seem to be the ones mentioned in all the news coverage about how dismal a shopping season it was. (Interestingly, I haven't heard the 22.4% bounce for onlne mentioned by anyone by you and InstaPundit.)

Here's a thought...what if the economy is doing fine, but we've just pretty much maxed out on how much stuff we can buy for each other? Shouldn't there e an upper limit? The stat I want to see is Christmas shopping as a percentage of GDP over the past 20 years.

Then we'd know something.

Or not.

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