Retail coverage mistakes this Christmas season
The Big Picture blog noted that with retail sales lackluster this shopping season, the coverage was even more disappointing.
It wrote, “There were all too many column inches that merely repeated Industry press releases; At the same time, there was a surprising dearth of skepticism. Otherwise respectable media morphed into mere dictation machines. Retail reporting took on the air of relentless cheerleading, as shopping became a competitive sport.
“One would imagine that breathless accounts of 19% year-over-year gains (wrong again), combined with a god-awful track record of hype and inaccurate forecasts from the same specific industry sources would raise a few eyebrows amongst the more senior editors. That apparently happened rather infrequently.
“Some of the more egregious errors we witnessed were:
â€¢ Surveys of consumers (NRF) expected shopping budgets were reported as actual retail sales;
â€¢ Foot traffic (Shopper-trac) was extrapolated to actual sales reciepts; This was reported (for the most part) w/o qualifying the estimated nature of this calculation;
â€¢ Credit card gains were reported as total sales gains;
â€¢ The distinction between Mall Stores, Discounters, and Specialty stores numbers were often left ambiguous. Relative size of these different retail outlets was typically omitted;
“Given the obvious agendas that various industry trade groups have in promoting a ‘feel good shopping environment,’ one would have hoped that there would be more fact checking and verification, and less stenography. Apparently, fact checking is a decreasingly important priority.”
Read more here.