I was in the local appliance retailer today and even for a weekday afternoon it seemed rather empty to me. (My dishwasher was shot, in case you wanted to know).
When I got to the store, there were a few salesmen hanging around, unlike what I remember on a pre-Christmas weekend, when you had to bribe the cashier to find you one. He was very nice, of course, and put up with all my questions. I made my purchase in a reasonable amount of time because I believe in Sy Syms (you may have to be from the NY metro area to get that one - an educated consumer is our best customer) and knew what I wanted.
Then I asked him - are people buying stuff?
His demeanor wilted a bit and he sighed, "nope."
He then followed that with remarks about how he does not see how the pundits are saying things are improving. Although I forgot the exact phrase he used, it was something like - it's still terrible (meaning the economy).
Earlier this week, I had some short sale ideas in retail and was waiting for confirmation to recommend actually shorting. This chart of TJX looked pretty bad a few days ago.
A high volume breakdown Monday when the rest of the market was soaring higher. The trend was down and the 50-day average was rolling over. Looked like a good short to me after a better timed entry. Then this:
Yes, I know a failed sell signal becomes a good buy signal but not necessarily when it has already gapped up like that. But it totally does not jibe with what almost any local merchant will say.