If you opened a newspaper or flipped on a TV recently, you were deluged with statements hyperventilating about holiday retail sales. Declarations that this was the best Black Friday in years, and it bodes well for the holiday season.
Savvy investors have learned to take these over-the-top declarations with a grain of salt. If you have paid attention in the past, the reality is far different from the spin: No Virginia, surveys of our gift-shopping intentions do not reveal our actual purchases. We humans are bad at forecasting the future and, as individuals, we are especially poor at predicting our own economic behavior. Marketers and trade groups, well aware of this, exploit that knowledge.
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