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A week that was all that America is about
The BRRR has had a week packed with civic duty and patriotic emotion. There was Election Day, which resulted in an unprecedented outcome. And of course there is Veterans Day, which is so much more than a day for retail promotions. And on top if it all was jury duty for the BRRR itself.
All of which is making for a shorter BRRR with this somewhat unconventional opening item.
The phrase “jury duty” is often followed by the sound “ugh.” Yes, it is inconvenient and at times tedious. But it is hard to think of a more vital responsibility for a citizen of our great country. We were especially blessed to sworn in on the same day that voters selected the next president of the United States.
The outcome, of course, was a shocker. Donald Trump, man who had never served in the military or the government was selected to be our next commander-in-chief. It was a phenomenally ugly campaign and an incredible divided vote that left nearly half the electorate happy with the result and a significant larger number disappointed or worse.
If you’re wondering what any of this has to do with retail, remember that many have said the election was likely a drag on retail spending.
Anyway, whichever side one falls on, the election was hardly uplifting. Ask Alec Baldwin and Kate McKinnon. Skip to 2:20 if you’re in a hurry.
But this where jury duty comes in. It wasn’t “ugh.” It was uplifting. The BRRR served with 11 other citizens who were earnest, attentive, intelligent, analytical courteous, open-minded and determined to reach a proper verdict.
We came out of the jury room, after the verdict, feeling better than we had all week.
Trump’s journey from Macy’s to the White House
Now on to the president-elect. Turns out that just because nearly half the country’s voters think you should be the leader of the free world, that doesn’t mean your clothing line is coming back to Macy’s.
Speaking as one chief executive to another, Terry Lundgren, commander-in-chief of Macy’s said the retailer had no plans to relaunch Donald Trump’s clothing line just because he won the election. (OK, Lundgren wasn’t addressing Trump directly. He was speaking to CNBC.)
Macy’s decided to dump Trump after then-candidate Trump said Mexican immigrants were rapist and criminals.
Macy’s decision apparently has to do with more than just the odious nature of Trump’s comments. Lundgren explained in the CNBC interview that it wouldn’t be all that smart to carry a brand named after a political figure.
“You wouldn’t want to have a product that was held by a prominent Republican or a prominent Democrat because 48% of the population doesn’t think that’s a good idea,” he told CNBC.
As an example he said Macy’s wouldn’t have a Hillary Clinton line, though we could see HRC pantsuits being a big seller. And if Macy’s stocked the pantsuits, they could reintroduce Trumpwear without appearing to favor one major party over the other.
It all seems simple enough, but it never is. Consider this: Although the president-elect’s clothes are out, Macy’s does still sell Ivanka Trump’s clothes and accessories. That’s all the more interesting, because D. Trump urged consumers to boycott Macy’s.
After all she’s done for him.
Retail is seeing a post-election glow
Hey, did you hear there was an election this week? Sure was and retailers think that now that that’s over with, they might start seeing people shopping again, the Wall Street Journal reports.
Macy’s and Kohl’s both said they were seeing sales pink up a bit now that much of the nation isn’t engaged in yelling at each other and worrying about how the world was going to end if the wrong person won the presidency.
The votes are counted. Donald Trump is headed to the White House and Americans are headed to the malls — or their computers, smartphones etc.
Kevin Mansell, who runs Kohl’s, said he’s still worried that consumers will be slow to shop given the uncertainty surrounding what Trump will actually do now that he’s the decider. You’ve got to admit, he wasn’t real clear on that during the campaign.
But Macy’s chief Terry Lundgren says pish (does anyone say pish?). The not-quite-half of the electorate that voted for Trump are going to be on an election high, he figures, ready to spend money like sailors on shore leave.
Which raises a question: What about the even larger number of Hillary Clinton voters. Are they going to be too bummed to spend? Apparently not, according to the St. Louis Post Dispatch, which reported on a National Retail Federation poll that had officials there saying a bi-partisan surge was coming.
That take is shared by ForeSee, an Ann Arbor, Mich., company that analyzes customer experience. In a poll taken between the Friday before Election Day and the Thursday after, two-thirds of shoppers of both parties said they didn’t plan to spend any more or less this holiday season than in the past.
That’s not to say the election, among the most surprising in U.S. history, didn’t affect consumers as they went about their buying business. The ForeSee survey asked Democrats and Republicans about their digital retail experiences on Wednesday, the day after the election. On a scale that tops out at 100, Republicans said their online experience was an 81. Democrats said theirs felt more like a 77.
But for those worried that the vitriolic campaign has torn the country asunder to the point where it will never heal, there is good news. As others have noted, it’s likely we have more in common than we think.
Foresee found that 85 percent of Republicans and 88 percent of Democrats would shop on Amazon this holiday season. When asked whether they would do more than half their shopping on Amazon, 32 percent of Republicans said they would, while 36 percent of Democrats said they would.
Singles’ Day is yuuuge
Yes, it’s Singles’ Day and yes the amount of stuff sold in Asia to commemorate being alone is once again staggering. The BBC reports that Alibaba is reporting $18 billion in sales on Nov. 11, which you might know as Veterans Day, or if you’re really hip as Onyx Friday.
Yeah, it’s turned into a super weird day, complete with opening ceremonies hosted by Kobe Bryant and David and Victoria Beckham. Katy Perry had to bow out for “family reasons.”
But nobody is laughing at the concept, which has even retailers beyond Alibaba laughing all the way to the bank.
And no question the Alibaba revenue figures are staggering. The BBC says the total is more than is spent on retail in the United States over the entire long Thanksgiving weekend.
But one other figure is equally as eye-popping. More than 80 percent of Singles’ Day purchases were made on mobile phones, a sign not only of mobile’s popularity in Asia, but also its potential elsewhere (like in the United States).
Oh, bet you wondered how we were going to keep our post-election-day theme going in this Singles Day item. Wonder no more. Did you know that the president-elect even managed to trump Alibaba’s big day?
Yep. The Wall Street Journal reports that the Alibaba media briefing meant to turn up the publicity machine for Singles’ Day quickly devolved into a discussion of Donald Trump.
Some know-it-all reporter asked the Alibaba exec spouting the company line how he thought a Tump presidency would affect the company. Trump, you may recall is not a big fan of China, though he talks about it a lot.
Quote of the week
“Stores are still vitally important. But the influence of digital touchpoints is huge.” — Fiona Swerdlow, vice president at Forrester Research to The New York Times regarding online influence on in-store shopping.
Photos by Mike Cassidy
Mike Cassidy is BloomReach’s storyteller. Contact him at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at @mikecassidy.