Every four years retailers in the US are faced with a challenging time as the public’s attention turns to the presidential election.  Although the impact may not be as bad in a year when an incumbent is on the ballot, we can see already this year is shaping up to be a difficult one for many stores as consumers are both distracted and distressed.  “While the scary economic rhetoric might win candidates big votes on the presidential primary trail, it’s not doing much to help retailers and brands meet sales goals,” comments Margaret Sutherlin in an article for Footwear News

Even high-end stores are feel the impact of the uncertainly of the election cycle. “Since the ups and downs of the luxury market are driven primarily by the mood, feeling and mindset of affluent consumers, it is reasonable to conclude that election years are bad for luxury retail,” according to high-end retail expert Pam Danziger in Luxury Daily.

An election does offer an opportunity to make your voice heard on issues you care about, which is a plus. The National Retail Federation is stepping up its efforts this year to inform those running for election “that retail is America’s largest private-sector employer, supporting one-quarter of the U.S. workforce. That a third of Americans got their first jobs in retail, and nearly two-thirds have worked in the industry. That retail pays wages competitive with similar positions in other industries — and that hiring managers across the employment spectrum say applicants with retail experience are highly desirable because of the skills they learn in retail.”

But if you’ve noticed a dip in your sales, rest reassured that you are not alone. This might be a good time to review your budgeting and open-to-buy for the year to make sure that you are not overspending in any category.   And at least for those of us who depend on the holiday season, it is good news that the election will be over in early November — barring anything like the hanging chads that delayed the conclusion of the election back in the year 2000.

Happy Retailing,

Carol “Orange” Schroeder