Retailer Jitters. Speaking of the Italians, retailers seem like they're in retreat lately. There are a lot of retailer jitters out there and mainstream retail is contracting (unless you're Wal-Mart). The game store forum is full of economic uncertainty, usually citing macro economic issues. If you run a cookie cutter franchise, you may be in trouble, but specialty retail seems pretty healthy. Distributors report that game store "traffic" is up substantially this week with lots of stores reporting good end of month sales. Black Diamond is having it's second best month to date (after December), with very strong sales, despite somewhat boring new releases. A lot of mainstream retail will disappear because they've got flawed business models, and I expect some specialty retailers on shaky ground will find their new purpose in life.
My business partner, a finance guy, points out that the press makes a living on writing about bad news, and there's no lack of bad economic news. The positive stuff gets ignored by the press and balances out the bad news. We're technically not in a recession, which has very clear technical parameters, and the Fed thinks we'll avoid one:
"...the Fed is still predicting that the economy will narrowly escape a recession, policy makers have sharply cut their forecasts for growth in 2008 to less than 2 percent and expect almost no expansion during the first six months of this year."
The economy is technically not in retreat, although it's looking a little shaky (it's staggered at zero hit points for you D&D 3.5 players). Everyone will get some stimulus in May as their big ass checks arrive form the government. The housing market has a couple more sub-prime mortgage resets that will end by Summer (March and May). We're expecting a record year at the store.