“We Had 2 Customers All Weekend” – Georgia’s Small Businesses Gripe About “Disastrous” Reopening
A few days back, we shared an interesting piece of “real time” data suggesting an increase in foot traffic to retail “hot spots” across Georgia last weekend, the first that certain businesses in the state were allowed to reopen.
But since the “anonymized” cellphone location data didn’t offer any indication of spending, we speculated that consumers desperate for freedom after being cooped up inside for weeks might simply be taking advantage of the excuse to ramble and roam the retail landscape and window-shop, even if most of the stores in any given strip mall remained closed. Since consumer spending drives 70% of the American economy – an oft-quoted stat – if nobody was buying, then no economically productive activity was occurring and the “green shoots” were really just a mirage.
Over the weekend, we learned Warren Buffett has jettisoned his airline stocks and decided to sit this crisis out (laying most of the blame for his decision at the Fed’s doorstep). A report in Bisnow looking back on the first week of Georgia’s reopening found that it was mostly “a disaster” for small businesses.