SOURCE: Author Darlene Quinn

Author Darlene Quinn

October 21, 2009 14:57 ET

Retail Recovery: Light at the End of the Tunnel

Expert Believes Retail Market Will Emerge From Recession by 2011

LONG BEACH, CA--(Marketwire - October 21, 2009) - Darlene Quinn thinks that Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke sounds like a reverse Chicken Little.

"The head of the Fed has been declaring the recession is already over, even if it doesn't feel like it," said Quinn -- a former senior executive with the Bullocks Wilshire department store chain and author of the novel "Webs of Power" (www.darlenequinn.net). "I don't think he's too far off track, but some specific things have to take place in order for retailers to claim the recession is over, and they aren't happening until 2011."

One Step Up, No Steps Back -- The first thing that needs to happen is retailers need to be able to post a gain over last year's numbers, according to Quinn.

"We have to post a gain of some kind," she said. "We can't move forward if we don't stop the bleeding."

The Return of "Value" Shoppers -- "There are essentially three kinds of consumers in the mass market," she said. "There are 'price' shoppers, whose primary concern is the cost of goods. They are blue collar folks who have tight budgets, so they shop at discount big box stores like Walmart. Then there are 'luxury' shoppers who have money regardless of the economic conditions. In the middle is the 'value' shopper, who middle class folks who don't mind paying a few extra dollars for service and quality. 'Value' shoppers became 'price' shoppers during the recession."

For true recovery to be imminent, the "value" shopper must head back to the department stores, Quinn added.

"We need to see the 'value' shopper come back to the mall, and retailers need to empower their people to the extra mile for them," she said.

2010: A Holiday Odyssey -- The final piece of the puzzle is the fourth quarter of 2010, Quinn said.

"The holiday season after this one is where the rubber will meet the road," she said. "If we stop the bleeding this year, then should be able to walk again by next year."

About Darlene Quinn

Darlene Quinn is an author and journalist whose novel, "Webs of Power" (winner of the 2009 Indie National Excellence Award for Fiction), is about the back-room wheelings, dealings and double-dealings behind the scenes of a national retail chain.

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