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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
As previously stated in a couple of threads, I work for Sam's Club as a merchandiser, and I thought I would share some of my observations about the economy.

The bottom line is, its going to total crap in a hurry.

Our sales have consistently dropped since October, and a lot of our business members(who are the foundation of our sales) have been buying MUCH less in order to pinch the pennies.

Consumer wise, our sales on big ticket items such as TV's, movies, gift items and such have been horrible. We still have most of our seasonal stuff(trees, ordnaments, gift baskets ect), and we stopped recieving that stuff over a month ago.

The freight levels in the store are the lowest I have ever seen them, and that is frightending since we are in the holiday peak season and are usually so crammed with stuff we don't have room for it.

We have been recieving most of our grocery items on replenishment basis only for the last few months!, which means that we aren't keeping much back stock like we normally do.

Here's the real gipper folks, last week we laid off our entire seasonal staff... yes LAST week. Folks who have been there longer than me say thats the first time that has ever been done. Management is also telling us that hours are going to be hard to come by in the coming year... so layoffs are possible, and we're talking the Wal-Mart corperation here.

My conclusions: If Wal-Mart or any of its sister stores are struggling, it really gives us a glimpse of how bad the economy currently is, and how bad it is going to get. I strongly feel that in early 2009 the fan is going to be slinging crap big time.

On the other hand, these are just my observations. Take this information how you see fit. :thumb:
 

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How's it with stains?
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Thanks for the insight. It's not fun to hear but I'll take a punch in the face any day if it gets me out of a burning house.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the insight. It's not fun to hear but I'll take a punch in the face any day if it gets me out of a burning house.
Most of the people I work with are the exact opposite, they see what is happening and still believe everything is peachy keen.:xeye:
 

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I just came back from a Wally World trip (no lectures please) and I was absolutely stunned.

Normally by this time (so close to Christmas) the shelves are practically devoid of any seasonal items. It looked to me like the shelves are still stocked to the hilt. As Grub said, there was plenty of everything that would normally be gone. I even saw an isle with Thanksgiving items. I can't remember ever seeing Thanksgiving stuff left over this far into the Christmas holiday.

When I left I drove out behind the back of the store. There was only 4 shipping containers with the doors open, completely empty. Usually during the holidays you can't even drive behind Walmart for all the shipping containers.

The cashier did make a couple of comments about the amount of food that I was purchasing. I always buy more to stock up. I also bought 2 turkeys, one for Christmas dinner and the other to can.
 

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Well, I run a retail business myself, and things definitely aren't pretty.

These unemployment numbers you're seeing now... tip of the iceburg. 2009's going to be alot worse in terms of people being out of work, which means plenty of businesses are going to fail without consumer revenue coming in, which means more people out of work... the same old chestnut.

That doesn't mean I'm all doom & gloom. Prepare for the worst, hope for the best. I'm hoping to use this opportunity to capture market share. History has shown that the creative & resourceful can make lemons out of lemonade regardless of the external environment.

But yeah... right now... things are pretty bad, and they're gonna get worse before they get better. No doubt about that.
 

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ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒ&
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Great thread. I would love to hear more merchandisng people sound off. I am involved in two industries-medical transportation and consumer trade shows.

The medical transport is holding its own and actually increasing some. Not unexpected since it is healthcare. Two concerns though--1) bad debt may go on the rise due to layoffs and the subsequent loss of healthcare benefits and 2) 60% or more of the income comes from medicare--a bad thing if hyperinflation occurs.

The other industry--consumer trade shows--is hurting. We cancelled one 2009 show already that was scheduled for January and merged it with the march show. Another flagship show in January is struggling to fill the exhibit space. Losts of exhibitors lost advertising budgets, laid off staff or closed their doors. Sales are down as much as 65% from last tear.

Its gonna be a helluva ride folks.
 

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My advice to Sam's would be - stock more canned goods - I shop at Sam's every payday, spending at least $100 a paycheck on canned goods. I have bought multiple cans of everything Sam's has in stock. I will have to start shopping somewhere else if they don't start getting a wider variety of canned goods in.

Sam's is in a good position to profit from the current economy, a lot of people are starting to stock up on things and Places that sell in bulk or have cheap prices can actually do good if they stay ahead of competitors and stock what sells.
 

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Yes, I have a hard time justifying my membership renewal in April.

Ive called the store once to complain, the prices go up just as fast as the grocery store and sometimes I really am just buying in bulk, with no discount.

Wait for the sales at walmart and lose the $50 membership fee. Some things I used to buy, the package shorting, combined with the steady rise in price, its not worth it for me anymore.
 

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I agree with the membership issue. Let my Sam's expire a couple years ago and never renewed. Currently have Costco for the first time and will let it expire after the first year. Gonna have a couple more expeditions there before hand, but should be pretty well stocked at that time.

Those "wholesale" clubs make their money on memberships, according to a report on NPR a few months ago during the whole rice crisis. If preppers are dropping memberships to these clubs, I imagine the general public is doing so in much higher percentages.

By the way, what does a "merchandiser" at Sam's Club do? Your artistic insticts must be truly frustrated! Same at Costco. Nothing but white block walls, flourescent lights, and metal shelves.

Finally, as some of you might know, I already closed my retail shop after many years in business.
 

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I live in South East Texas and so there is a large population of Hispanics in the area. I go to the local Hispanic grocery store and get most goods in bulk and all kinds of other items. Most of these folks have lived off of beans and rice their whole life and have what we need. That and no cover charge.
 

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Those hispanic grocery stores are great! If you get a chance, go to the meat counter and get some marinaded Fajita or Tablita. The tablita is just thin-cut ribs and grills great!
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
The reason they will never drop the membership fee because it is profit straight to the bottom line, if we can keep members or gain new ones that easily makes up for the ones that choose not to renew.

On the canned goods, we only sell brand name items and in keeping with being a wholesale warehouse we don't offer huge variety, but lower prices on the stuff we do have.

As a merchansider(overnight) I mostly move stuff around, there is always a "aisle reset" going on somewhere and the seasonal area needs constant work to keep things looking up to snuff. When there's no moves to do I mostly just drive the fork lift for people and do a little stocking.. yawn I'm getting bored just thinking about my job..
 

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Here in backwater Alaska, my wife has been involed with the American Legion Auxillary as an officer the last 2 years.
Christmas is a busy time for her with her duties. They have a party where Santa hands out toys to needy children and they also give food vouchers to families to help with Christmas dinner.
This year the requests for toys was way down. But the requests for food has doubled since last year.
We have 2 local food banks and they are both getting hit hard so far this winter.
I don't think this is just a local problem from what I've seen on the news........
 

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Here's my safety Sir
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Sam's should drop their membership fee for a while. I let mine lapse and just cannot justify the $40 to renew it at the moment.

or atleast give you two years for the price of one.
 
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I was at the local Target and Walmart this week and noticed they did NOT have the large shipping containers out in the parking lot like they did in years past. I checked around back and they were no where to be found. It made me wonder if they switched to a just in time restocking but after reading this thread I think they didn't need them because sales are down.

The stores aren't even crowded. Plenty of parking - at the mall too.
 

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One thing I am avoiding like the plague is the mall.

Im giving my oldest money and after the holidays, when the discounts get deep in January we will go clothes shopping.

Just came home from KMart and was somewhat dissapointed at their prices after going to Wal-Mart and Target. They didnt discount enough. People are not buying as much and I suspect they will be offloading their flannel sheets and christmas goodies at a loss in january, IF there is anyone who cares about that stuff enough to buy it then.

In my neck of the woods, consumer wallets will close even tighter after the new year based on the auto industry meltdown.
 

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We have a number of manufacturing clients in different industries, across the nation. All of them are temporarily shutting down facilities and letting people go. We are heading to a mass self-fulfilling prophecy. The only way out of this is mass government spending--which Barack Obama knows full well, fortunately--but there will be a price for that, too, a few years down the road.
 

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Knocked Down But Up Again
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Finally, as some of you might know, I already closed my retail shop after many years in business.
I'm sorry to hear that, brother. You most definitely have my sympathies.
 
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