Monday, 5 January 2009

Holiday Observations

Back from my first real vacation since moving to California 10 months ago. Tried to ignore the news as much as possible, but noticed a few things.

Holiday Sales: The overall decline in holiday sales is no surprise. What is a surprise is that on-line sales declined by as much (or even a little more depending on the data source) as traditional sales. I didn’t expect that at all. I wonder if this is a holiday anomaly (people wanted to go out shopping even if they were going to spend less), or a sign that the boom in on-line retail is waning. If there is any hopeful news in this season for shopping centers, I guess this is it.

Governor times unpopular announcements: Making controversial or unpopular announcements late on a Friday or before a holiday is the oldest PR trick in the book. The Governor did it twice last week making the $41 billion budget proposal on New Year’s Eve and the Delta Vision announcement recommending a peripheral canal without legislative or voter approval on a holiday weekend Friday afternoon - thereby ensuring skimping news reports and reporters inability to contact opponents. Both moves were disapointing, but understandable.

Obama stimulus plan changing and faces delays: We need this now, so it is disapointing to see Congress already predicting mid-February for getting it done. This makes it even tougher for state budget makers in CA and elsewhere who won’t know the extent of federal help for some time. I am a bit surprised by the extent of corporate tax breaks in this morning’s proposal. The details are not as clear as I expected at this point.

About the Author

Ethan Jacob

Author & Editor

I am Ethan Jacob Executive Director of the Center for Business and Policy Research at the University of the Pacific, where I have a joint faculty appointment in the Eberhardt School of Business and the Public Policy Program in the McGeorge School of Law..

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