sealPurdue News

October 8, 2002

Retail expert can discuss possible effects of dockworker lockout on Christmas shopping

Retailers are more worried about the effects of the dockworker lockout than the Grinch as they prepare for their biggest season of the year, says the director of Purdue University's Retail Institute.

Richard Feinberg, a professor of consumer sciences and retailing who puts out an annual Christmas retailing forecast, says the shutdown of West Coast ports makes it likely that an already difficult holiday shopping season will become a disaster.

"The holiday season accounts for 50 percent of retailers' annual sales and 40 to 50 percent of their profits, so anything that disturbs the flow of merchandise, sales and profits is critical to retailers," he says.

Feinberg predicts retailers will experience minimal effects if the lockout is settled within the next two weeks. If the dispute remains unresolved, the most affected will be the largest retailers, such as Wal-Mart, Target, Kohl's and Toys R Us, Feinberg says. These retailers get the largest percentage of their approximately 150,000 different types of merchandise per store from overseas.

Winning merchandise for retailers will be domestically produced or small goods that can be shipped by air and have a high price point, such as jewelry.

"The big winner will be the consumer," Feinberg says. "While selection may be a problem, the consumer will find low prices because retailers will price merchandise to move quickly."

CONTACT: Feinberg, (765) 494-8301,