An awful holiday season? Remember that judgment just a few weeks ago? Remember that pre-ordained decision based on hiring, Washington, consumer confidence and ennui?
The "judgmenters" (those who make these judgments) have spoken and they aren't about to let their premature prognostications get in the way of their careers. They know that we have short memories for those who said the holiday season will not be a merry one.
Still, I find it ridiculous that we even got these predictions given what UPS (UPS) has had to say, or Costco (COST), Gap (GPS) and Starbucks (SBUX) for that matter. Once again, the problem comes from an inability of the predicting class to actually do anything but stick their fingers in the air. I am about listening to the companies' conference calls, talking to the executives and getting an up-to-date, boots-on-the-ground judgments from people who have billions of dollars on the line, and they are almost all uniformly positive, not negative. Sure, they will call it "lumpy," and they are not going to say things are "gangbusters." But what they are saying is with gasoline prices down, some colder weather in the air, and relief that the worst is over in Washington for now, it could be a decent run.
It is possible that the closeness between Thanksgiving and Christmas -- the calendar shift -- plus the early Hanukkah may play negative roles in retail sales. But those aren't substantive. No, what matters is that things are better than we thought not that long ago, and the misperception that they are worse is still playing havoc with our judgments.
That's why there's still money to be made in the group!