It’s too bad 98% of the people in this country are math challenged. The storyline of retail recovery is false. It will continue to be false based on pure mathematics and demographics. The fact is that REAL retail sales, adjusted for population growth, are at the same level as 1999 and still 5.3% below the debt induced peak in June 2005. That doesn’t sound catastrophic until you take into account that delusional retail CEO’s across the land added 3 BILLION square feet of new retail space since 1999, bringing total retail square footage up to 15 BILLION. That is approximately 50 square feet of retail space per person in the U.S.

Retailers judge themselves upon sales per square foot. If you add 25% more square feet and achieve the same level of sales, guess what happens to profits? When you see the MSM crowing about Home Depot’s tremendous sales and profits, they fail to mention that they are still lower than they were in 2007. Retail sales have peaked for this cycle and are headed down. With 10,000 Boomers per day turning 65 years old with no savings, the future for retail gets bleaker by the day. There have been quite a few announcements of store closings by major well known retailers in the last few months, but we are only in the 2nd inning of this ball game. It won’t be over until the 15 Billion square feet is whittled down to 10 Billion square feet. If you were thinking of buying JC Penney, Sears or RadioShack stock, you might want to think twice about it.

The best investment today would be in the company that makes SPACE AVAILABLE signs.


  1. 1) Is the October 2001 spike mostly GM and Ford cars with that dumb post-9/11 “buy buy buy” campaign?

    2) Any chance of getting this chart ex-food? I imagine that food price inflation is a large chunk of the sales growth since 2002, even offsetting some of the decline in the 2008-10 period.

  2. “10,000 Boomers per day turning 65 years old with no savings”

    And only 3 workers to support each boomer. Their health is destroyed, and 25% of boomers have Hepatitis C. Each boomer will cost Medicare $100,000 a year or more. It’s the people that are going to have to pay for boomers that are screwed. They’ll be taxed into oblivion.

    Pensions ‘Timebomb’ – 85% of Pension Funds Will Go Bust

    The “pensions timebomb” keeps on ticking and as societies we become less prepared by the day.

    Yet another report shows that the public pension system is in dire straits. This one comes from renowned investment manager Bridgewater Associates.

    The study estimates that public pension funds will earn an annual return of 4% or less in the coming years due to near zero percent interest rates and financial repression. That, in turn, would cause bankruptcy for 85% of the pension funds within 30 years, the study warns.

    Public pension plans now have only $3 trillion in assets to invest so that they can pay out $10 trillion of retirement benefits in coming decades, according to Bridgewater. The funds would need an annual investment return of about 9% to meet those obligations, the report says.

    Many pension plans assume they will earn 7% to 8% annual returns, an assumption which is far too high. But even in the best case scenario of the pension plans achieving those returns, they will face a 20% shortfall, Bridgewater notes.

    Bridewater looked at a range of different market conditions, and in 80% of the scenarios, the pension funds become insolvent within 50 years.

    A little notice report issued earlier this year by the Rockefeller Institute of Government says state and local government pension systems have very significant problems.

    “Bad incentives and inadequate rules allowed public sector pension underfunding to develop,” the study says. “They mask the true costs of pension benefits and encourage underfunding, under-contributing, and excessive risk- taking, trapping pension administrators and government funders in potentially destructive myths and misunderstanding.”

  3. With Baby Boomers, I vote for turning them into Soylent Green & using it as food filler. You could also have them sauteed with teriyaki sauce on big open pit fires.

    No worse than Monsanto’s frankenfood.

  4. I’d like to see that chart adjusted for inflation using the Shadowstats version and not the fantasy BLS reported numbers.

  5. St Peters Mo. Middle class, safe and real nice place to live. A suburb of St Louis. Lots of space available signs here. Do any of you have similar stories from different places?


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