The blog is a great believer in the forecasting power of the major retailers. The top 3 global companies, Wal-Mart, Carrefour and Tesco all identified a change in consumer buying patterns as early as July 2007, when Tesco warned that "coming down the road is a tougher time".
Worryingly, their most recent comments give no sign that a strong recovery is yet underway:
Wal-Mart today reported their 4th consecutive quarter of same-store US sales decline. This closely watched measure indicates that consumers are still tightening their belts. And Wal-Mart added that their global customer base is "still concerned about their personal finances and unemployment, as well as higher fuel prices".
Carrefour saw a slightly better Q1, as same-store sales rose for the first time in 18 months, but only by 0.3%. CEO Lars Olofsson noted, however, that "the environment remains challenging".
Tesco, global no 3, reported in their latest annual results that internationally they continued to face "strong economic headwinds", although Asian same-store sales had turned positive.