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Tag Archives: Consumer

College Enrollment in the Spring Fell for 9th Year in a Row, and Now Comes Covid

Already troubled asset classes, such as student housing and student housing CMBS, face turmoil. By Wolf Richter for WOLF STREET. The pandemic threw higher education into chaos in the middle of the spring semester. How this will pan out for students, colleges, the whole army of people that works in higher education, the asset class of student housing, student housing mortgages packaged into commercial mortgage backed securities (CMBS), text-book publishers, and the rest of the...

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During the Last Financial Crisis, Even Ecommerce Sales Plunged. Not This Time

Ecommerce Spiked to Record. Mall Stores Got Hung Out to Dry. Walmart’s Online Sales, Still Woefully Behind, Shot Up 74% By Wolf Richter for WOLF STREET. Walmart US ecommerce sales set the tone. Being the largest grocery seller in the US, it didn’t have to close its stores. Nevertheless, its ecommerce sales soared 74% in the first quarter, compared to Q1 a year ago, Walmart reported today. This would be an increase of $3.2 billion from a year ago to $7.5 billion. But Walmart US had...

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A Word About the Current Chaos in Prices and Inflation

Some prices collapsed, others skyrocketed, and the Consumer Price Index went haywire. Here’s what I’m seeing beyond the near term — and it’s not “deflation.” By Wolf Richter for WOLF STREET. Amid soaring prices of meat, beverages, fruit, veggies, and other food at home, and surging costs of personal goods, medical care services, and household furnishings, and amid a collapse in prices of gasoline, car rentals, public transportation, car insurance, lodging away from home, and other...

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Subprime Auto Loans Blow Up, Get Very Messy

With 30 Million Unemployed, Even Prime Loans Will Get Messy. By Wolf Richter for WOLF STREET. “Because consumer debt servicing statements are typically furnished to credit bureaus only once during every statement period, our snapshot of consumer credit reports as of March 31, 2020 is, in effect, largely a pre‑COVID‑19 view of the consumer balance sheet,” the New York Fed said today when it released its Report on Household Debt and Credit for Q1. So the credit-upheaval caused by the...

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How Far Will the U.S. Economy Plunge During Lockdown?

“Three times deeper than the Great Recession?” By Wolf Richter for WOLF STREET. No one has ever been through an economy where enormous shifts have occurred, from one day to the next, shutting down part of the economy but also generating sectors that are vastly more vibrant than ever before. Monthly or quarterly economic indicators leave us in the dark because they lag too far behind and are at the moment largely useless. What we need is high-frequency data – daily and weekly that track...

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Here’s Where Retail Sales Spiked and Collapsed in 11 Mind-Blowing Charts of Lockdown Land

Second half of March was the end of retail for many. But some had spiking sales. Brick & mortar department stores will never recover; they were toast before the lockdowns. By Wolf Richter for WOLF STREET. Retail sales in March were a doozie. As I pointed out with data on daily sales of new and used vehicles, early March was strong, as consumers were trying to front-run store closures. But then around March 12 sales began to collapse. But not at all stores: Some types of stores such...

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From Panic-Buying to Lockdowns of Eateries & Manufacturing: Truckers, Railroads Face Supply Chain Turmoil, Spikes & Plunges

“There has been a clear divide between winners and losers.” By Wolf Richter for WOLF STREET. Panic buying in late February and March was followed by a sudden shift in consumption in mid-March away from restaurants, schools, college campuses, office buildings, other work locations to supermarkets, warehouse clubs, and ecommerce. For weeks, brick-and-mortar retail supply chains failed to keep up, and bare shelves in some product categories became a common sight. But the supply chains at...

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How Lockdowns Hit U.S. New & Used Vehicle Sales: Beyond Ugly

When the unemployment crisis exploded onto the scene three weeks ago, sales totally collapsed. What’s in store for the industry? By Wolf Richter for WOLF STREET. The lockdowns were gradually rolled out state by state, starting in mid-March, and this was when the historic unemployment crisis exploded onto the scene. So it’s the events from mid-March forward that show the new trend. For the whole month of March, total new vehicle sales plunged 37.9% year-over-year, with fleet sales...

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Foretaste of the Lockdown-Driven Collapse in the Services & Retail Sectors: Holy Moly, What a Catastrophic Mess

Services account for 70% of the US economy. Here’s what’s happening to services and retail in economic powerhouse Texas. By Wolf Richter for WOLF STREET: The Texas Service Sector Outlook Survey, released by the Dallas Fed on March 31, is one of the first indicators as to what services more broadly – they account for about 70% of the US economy – will look like under lockdown. The data also includes the retail sector that’s an even bigger mess. This is based on surveys of executives of...

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Post-Lockdown New Normal: Many Brick & Mortar Stores Will Not Reopen, CMBS will Default, Mess to Ensue

Neither the Fed nor the Treasury can bail out brick-and-mortar retailers. By Wolf Richter for WOLF STREET: Macy’s announced today that it would lay off “the majority” of its 123,000 employees after it had closed all its Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s and Bluemercury stores on March 18. Even before the lockdowns, its headcount was already down 17% from four years ago, in line with the decline of its brick-and-mortar operations. It said these stores would “remain closed until we have clear line...

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