Sunday, December 14, 2008

The Retail Crisis - An International Perspective

Greetings from Istanbul - my hometown. After a 10+ hour trip, I finally gathered the force to get out a bit and run some errands. Our house here is near major shopping mall, Akmerkez, one of the largest in Europe. Usually it's so crowded that you need a bodyguard to clear the path for you. Just like in the US, people come here to stroll and to hang out, even if they don't buy much. It's always hectic. It's always busy.

At 5:30PM on Monday, it was near empty.

Stores sported discount signs, ranging from 30 to 70 percent... and you can pay in monthly installments.

In every store I entered, I was greeted by an average of 3 salespeople who had nothing else to do.

Unemployment rate was just announced on TV as surpassing 10 percent. They expect it to hit 12-13 percent soon... Turkish people are used to dealing with crises, but they are as nervous as those of us living in the US. They keep asking me, 'how is business in the States?' They know well: When the States coughs, they catch a cold.

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