Will the Government Shutdown Affect Sales?

AsktheExpertsQ: Talking to customers and my staff, everyone seems rattled by what’s going on in the government right now with the shutdown and the debt ceiling looming. If this uncertainty continues, should I expect a downturn in sales? How should I adjust my plans to cope with this?

A: That’s a very good question and unfortunately there are no great answers. So far, most consumers have shaken off the government stalemates, as long as they don’t work for the government. But, if the situation goes on any longer, the debt ceiling debate could certainly rattle consumers and markets. You always need a backup plan so you know what to do if there is a major market correction.

I suggest the following: as a first step make sure that your systems and processes are as tight as a drum. If there is a market correction, you won’t have time to start collecting information just to create a new plan. You need accurate and up-to-date information at your fingerprint tips. Then, you’ll have some hard decisions to make. Consult with your board or trusted advisors to determine whether cancellations are necessary. Keep in mind that I am not advising cancellations at this time. For now, let’s hope for the best and if the situation worsens I will publish options to help you and other merchants manage the situation.

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avatar About Steve Pruitt

Steve Pruitt is founder and Senior Consultant of Blacks Retail Analysis and Blacks Consulting. With over 30 years of experience, Steve is one of the most respected merchandise analysts in the industry. His specialty is apparel merchandising and he has worked with clients in every sector of this category. Steve’s approach is highly customized; he tailors his analyses to the particular needs and market of each client. His work ties together the merchandising piece of the business with the client’s overall financial goals to increase sales and streamline operations. Steve is also a trusted general business consultant, known for his ability to help retailers plan growth and manage change.
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