Signs of the squeeze on the 99 percent:
Mr. Simon said Wal-Mart shoppers seemed especially worried about food prices — Wal-Mart’s food costs rose 4 percent over the last quarter, though it passed on “substantially less” to consumers via grocery prices.
“We hear from some shoppers that they believe it will be more difficult than ever to afford holiday meals for their families,” he said. “We understand their concern, and we see it every month in our customers’ purchasing behavior.”
Eating a huge holiday meal isn't necessarily the best for our health or our waistlines, but being forced to skip it for financial reasons isn't just skipping several hundred extra calories. It says that you can't fully participate in our culture, that abundance isn't available to you even a few special times a year. And the "traditional Thanksgiving dinner" will cost 13 percent more this year, driven especially by a 22 percent increase in turkey prices.
But the New York Times article detailing the food price concerns of Walmart shoppers offered the nauseating flip side:
At the other end of the retail spectrum, Saks said Tuesday that its revenue had risen 5 percent, to $692.3 million, from the same quarter a year ago. Its same-store sales, sales for stores open at least a year, rose 5.8 percent.
“Full-price selling is at record levels,” Mr. Sadove said. “We’re now in a less promotional environment than we were before the recession.” [...]
Some areas where Saks had placed big inventory bets, like shoes, turned out particularly well in the quarter, he said.
In the pumps and slingbacks section of the Saks website, there are more shoes priced over $1,000 than under $200.