Warren Shoulberg

Why Is Business Bad?

July 21, 2014


With Wall Street getting higher than folks in Colorado, the housing market racing to recover and banks earning more money than ever, it’s amazing how many vendors in the home business still keep complaining about how bad business is.

Not Recession-bad – much less Depression-bad – but not nearly as good as it should be given how other parts of the economy are doing. Yet nobody has a real good answer as to why this is.

So as a public service I offer the following possible explanations:

  1. Much of the retail base of the textiles and housewares business has its own problems and is not performing at optimum levels. Think about it: Penney, Sears, Kmart, Target, Kohl’s. All of them are struggling at various levels and are simply not doing the levels of volume they used to do. Even Bed Bath & Beyond is not hitting on all cylinders these days. Suppliers have to be feeling this in reduced orders.
  2. The true impact of the Internet is still not fully understood. Theoretically, sales online are replacing sales in-store on a one-for-one basis and should be revenue neutral. But maybe that’s not what’s happening. Maybe non-traditional vendors are getting some of that business at the expense of conventional suppliers. Maybe the direct-fulfillment onesies are not adding up to all those big container loads. Maybe it’s something else we don’t yet understand.
  3. Business is not so great these days, but memories are not what they used to be and, in fact, business was never quite as good as people remember it to have been.
  4. All of the above.
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