Basically, if you promoted heavily during the Thanksgiving weekend, you did well. If you're willing to be aggressive on price and promotion, you can attract traffic into the stores.
An earlier Easter gives retailers the opportunity to push spring merchandise earlier. Retailers will have to wait more patiently this year until mid-April for its coveted Easter sales.
The good news is in all honesty, everybody has brought down their expectations for the season.
I think that retailers have always been somewhat responsible for what they sell. Many of them have spent a lot of time and effort on quality control. I think litigation is a fact of life for retailers. What you're seeing here is that retailers are being held responsible for more and more.
Costco is a terrific company. Target, which is part of Dayton Hudson, is a very tough competitor to Wal-Mart. I don't think this is a Wal-Mart phenomenon.
I think you have a satiated consumer, you've got a consumer that's facing an increasing debt load and I think there wasn't a lot interesting short of the scooters this Christmas season.
I think you can look at it as a preview of coming attractions. (CEO) Alan Lacy has made no secret of the fact that, with the exception of the appliance business, he does not consider the core mall business run well.
I think everybody is having had a difficult time. I think in general it's been a very tough apparel cycle, and I think particularly if you're depending on (designers) Tommy (Hilfiger) and Ralph (Lauren) and Liz (Claiborne), apparel has slowed down.
You've had a series of announcements over the last several weeks indicating a softness in retail. You've had other indicators, which I think really tells you you're up against really difficult comparisons with year-ago figures. Something's gone wrong with the apparel business in this country.