In which I validate Megan McArdle

So, the parents have been in town for the holidays. Having tapped out the entertainment options for our local municipality, we decided to head to Portland for the day yesterday. After a couple of hours of wandering through the Old Port and watching the shops close, we decided to trek to the Maine Mall. Fun.

First of all, everything was on sale. Really on sale. And it took an act of Herculean strength to resist buying a bunch of cheap fashion knock-offs at the new H&M. Because I really, really love H&M, but I really, really don't need any more t-shirts or sweaters. But if I had had an eye toward bargains, I would have been set.

The other thing I noted was that the mall felt pretty empty. Admittedly, it was the end of the day on a Sunday, but it was also the week between Christmas and New Year's, and things were massively marked down. But it looks like I'm not the only one who is deciding not to splurge in these bleak intra-holiday doldrums.

Megan seems pretty sanguine about all this, and to the extent that I think it's a good thing to live within one's means, so do I. If people can stop their habit of buying everything in sight just because they have functioning credit, then more's the better. But it doesn't bode well for the retail sector, which isn't too great for the job market. Maine certainly isn't immune to that latter effect:

Hit hard by the recession, L.L. Bean is considering company restructuring, cost cutting and even layoffs to deal with weak sales.


L.L. Bean plans to offer voluntary retirement incentives and to open only two of eight previously planned new stores in the new year. But those steps alone probably won't be enough to stave off layoffs, he wrote in the memo, first obtained by the Times Record newspaper.

"Even with these options on the table, it is now unlikely that we will be able to avoid some level of involuntary position elimination both to support our multichannel transformation, and to resize ourselves for a smaller revenue base," McCormick wrote.

Maine's economy was no great shakes to begin with. It looks to get worse before it gets better.

1 comment:

  1. So I'm envisioning a Swiftian essay on a modest proposal for how we can use the skin of Maine's children to make L.L. Bean Duck Boots....