High Energy Prices Aren’t Bad for Everybody


In a story from the Associated Press, writer Rachel Beck points out the rather obvious fact that, with gas prices hovering around $4.00 per gallon, people are staying home and “entertaining themselves with backyard barbecues, craft projects, and lots of television watching.”


Obviously that’s a problem for many industries, but what about those of us who sell products that are used at home?  Television sales were up in May versus April, and versus May, 2007.  Merrill Lynch chief North American economist David Rosenberg says “households seem  bent on cocooning by staying home to watch television rather than driving to the local theater and shelling out more than $11.00 to watch a film (and an extra $5.00 to get there).” 

While MYOB tries to be industry-neutral, there’s good news for the sewing and vacuum industries.  According to the Conference Board, consumers plan to buy more vacuum cleaners.  The theory is that if you’re spending more time at home, you want the place to be clean.  Wal-Mart  said last week that floor care is currently one of their strongest departments.  Don’t let them have all that extra business!


More good news, Jo-Ann Stores posted a first-quarter profit and exceeded Wall Street expectations.  Same store sales were up 4.5%.  If people are staying home, they need something to do and that means more sewing and crafts.  Add the $600 tax rebate that many consumers are still waiting to receive and you have an opportunity to make some extra sales.


The arrival of hot summer temperatures combined with increasing energy costs should also make for a lot of ceiling fan sales, especially if people are spending more time at home.  If you sell fans and you’re not promoting their energy-saving potential, you’re leaving money on the table.


I could throw out some tired old cliche about making lemons out of lemonade or clouds with silver linings, but I won’t.  I’ll  just point out that there’s always an opportunity to create sales, no matter what’s going on in the economy.  The thing that separates successful merchants from the rest of the pack is the ability, and the willingness, to find those opportunities and turn them into sales.


What are you doing to create sales this summer?


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