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Thursday, September 23, 2010 10:43 PM

Shopping Patterns Show When the Government Checks Come In

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With every passing month, more and more people live paycheck to paycheck. The proof is easy to find. Just start Watching Wal-Mart at Midnight

[Said] Bill Simon, CEO of Wal-Mart’s U.S. business, at a Goldman Sachs conference last week, on behavior at a Walmart store around midnight at the end of a month:

“The paycheck cycle we’ve talked about before remains extreme. It is our responsibility to figure out how to sell in that environment, adjusting pack sizes, large pack at sizes the beginning of the month, small pack sizes at the end of the month. And to figure out how to deal with what is an ever-increasing amount of transactions being paid for with government assistance.

“And you need not go further than one of our stores on midnight at the end of the month. And it’s real interesting to watch, about 11 p.m., customers start to come in and shop, fill their grocery basket with basic items, baby formula, milk, bread, eggs,and continue to shop and mill about the store until midnight, when electronic — government electronic benefits cards get activated and then the checkout starts and occurs. And our sales for those first few hours on the first of the month are substantially and significantly higher.

“And if you really think about it, the only reason somebody gets out in the middle of the night and buys baby formula is that they need it, and they’ve been waiting for it. Otherwise, we are open 24 hours — come at 5 a.m., come at 7 a.m., come at 10 a.m. But if you are there at midnight, you are there for a reason.”
Underwear Economics

Wall Street Journal write Al Lewis mentioned the above in Underwear Economics
There is no Santa Claus. The next best thing is Wal-Mart. And Wal-Mart says we're all getting underwear for Christmas.

OK, so maybe some children will still receive their annual allotments of cheap electronic games and plastic toys.

"But for all you adults out there, I think you should plan on socks and underwear for Christmas," said Bill Simon, CEO of Wal-Mart's U.S. business, at a Goldman Sachs conference last week. "Because that's going to be what you are going to get -- at least from me."

Perhaps underwear for Christmas isn't such a bad idea.

Former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan once said he viewed underwear sales as an economic indicator. Cost-cutting consumers will wear their old undies longer, the theory goes.
There is much more in the "underwear" article including snips contained in "Watching Wal-Mart"

Mike "Mish" Shedlock
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