Welcome to 2013, everyone
Since I wrote this column at the very end of 2012, there was no way to know where we stand (or stood) regarding the fiscal cliff.
If this issue was not resolved yet, the nation will be grappling with some $536 billion in tax increases - hikes that will impact all Americans, regardless of income. At the same time, we will also be looking at about $110 billion in spending cuts, and all of this on the heels of a rather soft fourth quarter.
According to NPD, while retail customer traffic this past holiday season was on par with that of 2011, shoppers seemed to have spent less.
The research firm attributed the softer holiday selling season to a number of distractions that, in addition to the fiscal cliff, also included Superstorm Sandy and the tragic shootings in Newtown, Conn. Further evidence came in the form of the December consumer confidence numbers, which dropped by more than six points.
And while a number of retail analysts are predicting that 2013 may not get off to a blazing start, they are suggesting that retail will improve as the year unfolds. There are also predictions that, while the economy in general will be better this year than it was in 2012, we won't really see that till midsummer.
But in the meantime, please don't ask me what I think, because I'm in the same boat with you. However, if you asked me to share what I know, I would give you this simple bit of advice: Control what you can and own what you own.
Whether we find ourselves at the edge of a fiscal cliff, or on an unexpected pathway to profitability or somewhere in between, the sun will come up tomorrow. The sky may be dark. And while it may even get darker before it lightens up, it is not falling. If you are reading this, congratulations ... you've survived a tough year.
You've also been given the gift of a new year, a clean sheet of paper and the opportunity to show your customers and yourself what you are made of.
Here's wishing you a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year!