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Davidowitz: Death Spiral of the American Consumer

"In the Tank Forever": U.S. Consumers, Retailers in a "Death Spiral," Davidowitz Says Posted Aug 27, 2009 07:30am EDT by Peter Gorenstein
Related: dltr, fdo, spy, kss, xrt, WMT, CVS

Retail maven Howard Davidowitz paid another visit to Tech Ticker this week. And despite signs of improvement in consumer confidence and retail stocks rising, Davidowitz is steadfast in his belief the consumer is dead.

Rather than summarize, let me just highlight some of his best one-liners:

On retail:
  • "The retail business is terrible... It's almost all negative."
  • "We're going to close hundreds of thousands of stores." 

On the consumer:

  • "They’re still over leveraged, they're losing jobs, their credit has been cut back."

On America:

  • "We are in the tank forever. As a country we are out of control, we're in a death spiral." 

On the stock market:

  • "We're in terrible shape. That's what the fundamentals tell me. I can't explain the stock market."

But it's not all gloom and doom, believe it or not. Davidowitz, who runs a retail consulting firm Davidowitz and Associates, thinks certain discount retailers, grocers, drug store chains and a select few department stores can survive and prosper in the future.

Most notably he likes the "extreme discounters" like Family Dollar, Dollar Tree (which was up almost 5% Tuesday after the company raised its outlook) and 99 Cents Only Stores. And, in the department store sector, he says, Kohl's will "be the only winner" because of their cost controls. (Davidowitz has no positions in stocks mentioned.)