With the unemployment rate lower than last year, the major stock averages prices up over 20% and real estate trading at higher prices, people are feeling more flush with cash. In this backdrop, we thought retail sales would hold up and do well, and they did. The credit card companies, Mastercard, in particular, reported that holiday sales increased 4.9% year-0ver-year. Now some of that is true growth, and we suspect most of it is, and some is a switch from cash purchases to credit cards.
Our readers know that we pay attention to sentiment and we like to find opportunities in good companies that Wall Street analysts hate and institutional investors and market commentators loath. Retail has been one such industry and the traditional brick & mortar retailers as some of the most disliked companies in the world. Prognosticators argue that Amazon will slowly push everyone out of the way, and take over the industry leaving malls throughout America looking like ghost towns.