The Consumer Is Back!


Ruthanne Terrero
Vice President—Content/Editorial Director, Ruthanne Terrero

Major U.S. companies are reporting their second-quarter earnings and in the findings are a few glimmers of truth that may help you steer your business through the rest of 2012.

The Home Depot’s net income is up 12 percent. Why? Consumers spent more money on their homes this spring—on big items like kitchen re-dos and other home improvements. What does this mean to you? Your clients may be feeling better about spending larger amounts of money on big-ticket items that they feel they really need but have gone without over the past few years. Your task? To make them feel that a big vacation is something they really need so they can feel better about their overall well-being.

Along those lines, Saks says it “has seen its affluent shoppers return to spending freely on status goods since the recession,” according to an AP newswire account. Saks executives confirmed that it will see strong sales in the second half of this year, thanks to resilient wealthy shoppers whose spending habits have once again become solid and less dependent on sales. 

No interpretation needed. This is good news for you. Go out and get them. Become a member of the country club and attend fancy museum functions and fund-raisers. Bring business cards. Revert to your Sales 101 tactics and go where the money is. 

Then there’s Gap, with a whopping 29 percent increase in net income for the second quarter. This news is long overdue. Gap is finally making a turnaround by selling less drab clothing than it had been during the recession. Have you seen everyone wearing those bright-colored jeans this summer? They’re all over Manhattan. It’s a welcome change from the motley grunge we’ve seen coming out of that store but there’s ever so much more meaning to it, all for you. Gap has wisened up and started to partner up its shops, such as Banana Republic, with TV shows such as Mad Men to promote swanky, stylish clothing.

Banana Republic has also hired Narciso Rodriguez to advise over its Fall 2013 collection. What does this mean to you? Align with stylish partners. Fashion and travel go hand in hand. Travel can be every bit as sexy as a great outfit and its impact can have an even more profound impact on your clients. So be ready to snazz up your promotional materials, your website, your presentations and your own self-image. People like to shop and they enjoy the purchasing process. Make them feel as if they’re purchasing a lifestyle when they buy travel from you. Let them become part of the process but ensure all along the way that you’re crafting something they’ll want to sport around in front of all their friends, just like that garden-party frock with the plunging neckline or that slim-cut suit with the dapper lapels. 

The customer is back; lure them into your fold and keep them close by wowing them with one stunning vacation after another.