BY Jack Davis, The Western JournalJune 3, 2023
4 months ago

American Retail Giant Notices Change in Customer Behavior Historically Signaling Recession

Consumer behavior could portend a looming recession, according to a top executive at Costco.

During a call with investors on Thursday, Chief Financial Officer Richard Galanti said a trend is emerging that shoppers will pass on buying red meat, but instead buy lower-priced pork or chicken.

In the past, this behavior has been common in recessions, he said, according to Business Insider.

He also noted that canned meat and fish are selling while more expensive fresh meat does not.

Galanti offered two other indications that consumers are pinched.

First, the company is seeing an increase in its store brand, Kirkland, which is usually lower-priced than national brands, he said.

Further, he said, the average transaction at Costco is down 4.2 percent globally and 3.5 percent in the United States.

Galanti’s comments meshed with a recent Federal Reserve report noting that consumers have been cutting back.

“Nearly two- thirds of adults stopped using a product or used less because of inflation, 64 percent switched to a cheaper product, and just over one-half (51 percent) reduced their savings in response to higher prices,” the report said.

Analysts say that there are signs of economic clouds on the horizon.

“I’d be surprised if there aren’t more layoffs,” Ethan Harris with Bank of America said, according to WKRN-TV. He said the move would be triggered by rising interest rates.

“People need to be aware that it’s going to be a bit of a bumpy ride in the next year for the economy,” he said.

JPMorgan Chief Operating Officer Daniel Pinto also sees some warning signs, according to Yahoo.

"There will be a recession at some point, but I don't see, for the moment, a crisis. It's just a slowdown in the economic cycle to deal with inflation,” he said.

David Trainer, CEO of New Constructs said the best predictor of a recession will be Walmart’s sales, according to Forbes.

“Walmart is a bellwether for consumer spending and health, which is not in dire straits, but it is weakening,” Trainer said.

He added: “Walmart’s earnings add to the idea that a recession is not fully here yet but is likely coming, albeit more slowly and less severe than most expect.”

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

Written by: Jack Davis, The Western Journal



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