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 Kurt Barnard - “Whatever strengths fashion apparel did show came from deep markdowns.”
 Kurt Barnard - “The demand for the 'luxury look' is back. Americans want to be fashionable and elegantly dressed but that doesn't mean they want to go broke in the process, ... Consumers know that they can get that well-dressed look for an affordable price, and that's why the specialty apparel chains like Gap ( GPS Research , Estimates ) and Ann Taylor ( ANN Research , Estimates ) are performing well.”
 Kurt Barnard - “It was really the department store chains and the apparel retailers that took it on the chin with weak January sales results. But a couple of names in those two groups are guiding higher than expected, predicated on expectations of lower promotional activity going into spring.”
 Kurt Barnard - “They are now getting into the apparel business in a way they have not known before -- in a way that establishes Sears Roebuck as a major operation in apparel.”
 Kurt Barnard - “Upscale stores have done very well because their customers have been fortunate to amass a bit of wealth, so they're not worried about their jobs. But people who live paycheck to paycheck have to be careful, and they look at the price tag before looking at the product.”
 Kurt Barnard - “It seems to be that a lot of these large chains are gravitating toward the advantages inherent in joint buying and obtaining lower prices and saving a lot of money in the process, ... ...It is very likely to be a powerful weapon in the retailer's arsenal to reduce the cost of buying and operating. And given the world of the Internet, which makes possible these alliances, it has to be recognized that consumers will find it so much easier these days to compare prices because all they have to do is click away.”
 Kurt Barnard - “Just remember one thing - the competitive world around Home Depot is changing. Lifestyles are changing. He has stay not just on top of those changes, but a mile ahead of them.”
 Kurt Barnard - “The job cuts and nameplate changes will help keep prices down, ... The job cuts will trim costs and changing Marshall Field's to the Macy's nameplate also should save in advertising and in negotiating with vendors.”
 Kurt Barnard - “There is spotty evidence that in some stores inventories are running low, but considering that the action that's in the stores is not particularly hot these days, that (low inventories) may not be the worst possible fate. In many cases a lot of stores reduced the orders they placed, and in some cases, canceled orders, which is exactly what's happening.”
 Kurt Barnard - “I think that Jupiter's conclusions are, absent documented evidence of this development, somewhat optimistic, ... They (consumers) do their research on the computer, then they buy in the store, but they're not going to buy more than they had planned to buy. They might buy different things from what they had planned to buy, but there are only so many dollars to go around.”
 Kurt Barnard - “The thing that drives retail sales most and best is job availability and the ease of obtaining new jobs. Both of these factors are absent at the present time. It may not be until the end of the year that we see job growth.”
 Kurt Barnard - “You know, Americans have jobs. Americans are earning money. They feel good about themselves. They feel secure in their ability to hold onto the job, and even if they lose the job they know they don't have to go too far to find another one, ... So they feel a sense of security, of freedom to go out and spend and buy and do things for themselves, and that is why we are absolutely convinced that consumer spending will remain strong certainly throughout the balance of this year, and ... maybe into next year.”

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