Posted by Leonard Steinberg on November 28th, 2011

Retail insanity was the order of the day starting mere seconds after the turkey and stuffing had been digested. Reports of fist fights, pepper spraying, gun-shots, etc highlighted American’s intense desire for a bargain. Retail sales were up over 8% over last year, setting new records. These are my questions:

1) Were Americans more desperate to buy the bargains this year because for many the economy is so bad they cannot afford anything less than a bargain?

2) With over 100 million Americans out shopping, maybe those isolated incidents of violence were actually low compared to a normal day, inspiring the press to make it a story as it provides great imagery?

3) Is this a sign of a retail/economic recovery? The US economy is mostly based on consumption that has remained pretty stagnant during the recovery……have American consumers grown tired of the gloom and doom, holding back to the point of a breakdown? Is this a resurgence of consumer confidence? Remember US consumers increased their savings rate from 0% in 2008 to about 5% in recent years….that’s quite a bit of money saved waiting on the sidelines…..earning next to nothing in saving’s accounts, and shrinking in value in the equity markets.

4) Is this a flight towards hard, tangible assets, steering away from cash? Many of the wealthy have been buying Manhattan real estate (as witnesed by the Luxuryloft team)and gold for this exact reason.

5)  Have Americans come to the conclusion that yes, Kim Kardashian is actually right: it’s all about STUFF, not that other stuff no-one can see and covet?

6) If sales were up over 8%, did buyers actually buy more, or did the merchandise simply cost more because of …….inflation?