Retailers See Sharp Decline: Half Of All Consumers “Continue to Feel Pain”

by | Dec 1, 2016 | Conspiracy Fact and Theory, Emergency Preparedness, Headline News | 75 comments

Do you LOVE America?



    This article was written by Tyler Durden and originally published at Zero Hedge.

    Editor’s Comment: Those at the top of the heap are generally too out of touch to connect with the pressure and burden that those on the lower end of the spectrum are feeling. Dollar General, however, caters to the working poor, those on benefits and those who are desperately feeling the economic decline. They see it every day, they hear from their customer base, and it is reflected in their pricing and marketing – they must reach those people on some level in order to continue a successfully operating chain.

    The pressure and burden of rising costs for rent, food and living expenses, combined with the painful cost of healthcare – either tax penalties or premiums – are making it incredibly difficult for many ordinary Americans who are just trying to achieve a decent living standard and way of life.

    Those involved with economic and fiscal policy have no idea, and no way of connecting to the difficult times that have fallen upon those who simply cannot find better work, higher paying jobs and cannot cope with runaway costs. Moreover, these pressures reveal the faults and cracks of the system, a system which must either adjust to create better conditions, or collapse on the weight of the people are at their rope’s end in putting up with it. Despite the post election optimism about the economy, there are plenty of sober reasons to be concerned about an economy that could collapse any time now.

    Dollar General’s Startling Admission: Half Of U.S. Consumers Are Feeling More “Dire” Than Ever

    by Tyler Durden

    When we last looked at the performance of deep discount retailer Dollar General three months ago, we found something troubling: company CEO Todd Vasos, who badly missed its earnings expectations, admitted on the Q2 conference call that he was surprised to admit that while on the surface things are supposed to be getting better, the reality is vastly different for low-income US consumers:

    I know that when we look at globally the overall U.S. population, it seems like things are getting better. But when you really start breaking it down and you look at that core consumer that we serve on the lower economic scale that’s out there, that demographic, things have not gotten any better for her, and arguably, they’re worse. And they’re worse, because rents are accelerating, healthcare is accelerating on her at a very, very rapid clip.

    Making matters worse, he added that the company’s core consumers base, 65% of which is comprised of lower-income shoppers, has been impacted by the recent reduction or elimination in foodstamps: “now couple that in upwards of 20 states where they have reduced or eliminated the SNAP benefit, and it has really put a toll on [the core consumer].”

    He elaborated that the reduction in foodstamps benefits promptly filtered through the entire business model, and culminated with Dollar General being forced to cut prices to remain competitive.

    While America’s poorest where pressured on one side by declining foodstamp benefits, on the other they were getting hit by rising rental and healthcare costs:

    “[The] core consumer, I tell you, has gotten no better as far as her economic well-being. Matter of fact, she tells us, while we’re out in the stores or even through all of our panel data that we do, that while things haven’t gotten a lot worse as far as income coming in, other than the recent SNAP decrease, my expenditures are going up at a very rapid rate. Healthcare is one of the big ones, because most of our consumers, while she may be working, doesn’t have healthcare, and we all know that she’s having to now pay for this healthcare or be taxed on it, right? So that is starting to really play against that low-end consumer right now, and it will continue to play against her. You couple that with those rents that we talked about, those increased rents are real, and in many parts of where we serve our customer, the affordability and availability of rental units are getting more and more scarce, which is driving up prices. And we’re seeing that because most of our core customers cannot and do not own their own homes.”

    But the one statement from Vasos that revealed just how bad the situation truly is for much of America was the following: “I’ve been out in stores in the middle of the aisle and heard customers come up to our store manager in tears and thanking them for being there and thanking them for the prices that we offer in a real convenient nature for her, where she can walk to the store, because she can’t afford anything else. When you hear that, that really brings home where this core customer is.”

    * * *

    Fast forward to today when after last quarter’s abysmal results, and after after two consecutive quarters of slowing sales, Dollar General once again missed expectations across the board. The dollar store reported that earnings came in at 89 cents a share, falling short of Wall Street forecasts for 93 cents a share; sales rose 5% from the prior year to $5.32 billion, missing analysts estimates for $5.36 billion. The deterioration was the result of an ongoing decline in same store sales, which dropped by 0.1% in the quarter, missing consensus estimates of a 0.8% rebound, even as the company cut prices: gross margin declined from 30.3% a year ago to 29.8%, missing estimates of 30.2%. Finally, the company reduced its profit outlook for the year, saying earnings would come in on the low end of the 10%-15%  long-term growth range, and below Wall Street estimates pg 13%.

    There were several reasons for the disappointing results, one among which was the company’s latest failed attempt to boost traffic by lowering prices, which while leading to the latest (already razor thin) margin decline, failed to materialize in an increase in same store sales. One can blame that on further industry-wide discounting as the race to the bottom accelerates. “There is evidence Walmart has lowered food prices in certain categories, which likely pressured Dollar General – we note that Dollar Tree is impacted less by this as it has a more discretionary product mix,” points out Barclay’s analyst Karen Short. “We believe Dollar General’s initial price reductions were likely introduced more broadly in the third quarter, potentially pressuring results in the near-term,” Short added.

    But the biggest factor by far impacting the performance of the dollar store, was the continued adverse turn in the purchasing power of the lower half of US consumers: according to Dollar General’s executives, the company’s core low-income consumers continued to feel pain, weighed down by higher health-care bills, rising rents and cuts to federal food stamp programs, in other words the very same things the company lamented last quarter.

    Which is surprising.

    As the WSJ notes, over the past decade, dollar stores benefited from robust growth spurred by cash strapped consumers suffering from the recession and postrecession malaise. “That picture could be starting to change. Low income wages are increasing and competition for hourly workers is increasing.

    Which would be great if it were true, because that particular version of reality presented by the Bureau of Labor Statistics seems to conform with what is taking place in the real world, where Dollar General’s shoppers aren’t feeling flush, said the CEO.

    And just to avoid putting words in his mouth, this is what Todd Vasos said during today’s Q&A, when a Morgan Stanley analyst asked him if he can share “any further color around the low-end consumer health” and how it differs from what the company noted last quarter versus the latest observations. This is what Vasos replied:

    Interestingly, we talk to our consumers each and every quarter through panel data as well as we bring them in and talk to them in general and I can tell you as late as mid third quarter, they were telling us that their sentiment – feeling – is even more dire than it was in previous quarters in early 2016. What they’re citing and continue to cite is the rising healthcare costs that they’re facing. I don’t believe any of our core customers realized what they were up against on those rising costs. And then rental costs continue and they call that out second on paying rent because most of our, again, core customers rent, don’t own and those rents are going up across the nation at a pretty high rate. 

    So we’re hearing a lot of the same things we’ve heard over the last couple of quarters but what was interesting to us was that she was feeling worse off today, middle of the third quarter, than she was earlier in the year.

    We go out and talk to the customers each and every quarter, and again I believe that the majority of what we are communicated to everyone earlier in the year pretty well is still well intact as far as the consumer is concerned except for the notion that she may be a little worse off today economically than she was even earlier in the year.

    His response, we hope, clarifies any residual confusion about how the lower half of the US consumer class is doing these days.

    This article was written by Tyler Durden and originally published at Zero Hedge.


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      1. Hmmm, I buy as much stuff as always. New scope, rifle, ammo, boom stuff, computer, preps, etc. Whatchoo talkin bout Willis?

        • Maybe it’s because I am not a debt slave (everything paid for) and have no credit cards and pay cash. I don’t buy stupid shit and expensive toys. I buy presents only for my wife and myself. Fook xmas it’s a fraud, I don’t spend a penny on it. I bet sporting goods stores are doing good. People are broke because they are stupid and can’t manage money. Too bad, so sad….

          • Im broke, but its because every time i get more money i buy more tools or other stuff i can make money with or do more and different kinds of skilled trades stuff,
            Some times ya gotta spend money to make money

            • Buying tools for your job is a good investment. Maybe not to the point of being broke though. Different skills are a great plus! Sounds like your doing good. I’m talking about idiots that buy the latest phone or gadget or games etc. New atv’s, new rv’s, giant TV’s, jewelery, new cars, shit you don’t need or can get a way better deal buying used.

              • Gee I guess I can’t use the J word. I will copy and paste with correct spelling:

                Buying tools for your job is a good investment. Maybe not to the point of being broke though. Different skills are a great plus! Sounds like your doing good. I’m talking about idiots that buy the latest phone or gadget or games etc. New atv’s, new rv’s, giant TV’s, j*w*l*ry, new cars, shit you don’t need or can get a way better deal buying used.

                • i spent a lifetime looking for a wife that had those kinds of ideals, but have failed miserably. in america, we take care of women with children from cradle to grave, with little reason to be fiscally conservative. get pregnant, and the gubmint takes care of them. why would they mess that up by picking a man instead? i AM starting to see “pretty” girls that are homeless lately though…it DOES seem to me to be getting worse out there. obamadontcare REALLY did decimate the working class, and trump has shown NO signs of removing the obstacles to freedom in the healthcare and drug markets, like karl denninger keeps harping on. the “take care of me, or ELSE!” attitude with women in america has made our collapse a certainty. those “skills” aint gonna get them too far in a collapse situation. prepper GIRLS are few, and far between. i am STILL lookin’ for a good woman, but am also lookin’ for a fish ridin’ a bicycle….i’m givin’ three to five odds i find the FISH first!

                  • Pretty girls never stay homeless or beggars for long. I remember in the 80s seeing a very pretty young girl begging on the street outside a subway station. She was lovely looking – fresh faced – and clearly had not been homeless for too long. A businessman in a sharp suit (he must have been in his 30s and looked very rich) came up to her and asked if she needed a meal. He then offered her a room in his house to stay. They talked some more and then she got up and took him up on the offer. I bet she had to suck for her supper but she would have got a hot meal and dry bed to sleep in.

                    Only the stupidest pretty girls and women end up begging. They can always get work in shops and restaurants or going into the sex trade and making some serious cash. What tends to happen in a bad economy is an upgrading to low-grade jobs. So, for example, the greeter at the Gap is a supermodel look-a-like; the waitress at the diner would melt your nuts; the hot and smart girl gets a researcher job with a prof who gets some nooky on the side.

                    In short, the one commodity that weathers every crisis is p#ssy. It even trades better than gold or silver.

                    • i’ve seen several “pretty girls” lately, homeless. i don’t think your thesis is true anymore as much as it used to be. i ride a bicycle around town a lot, so i see things others miss.

            • Been my experience that good tools cost nothing in the long run as long as you use them to build/make/repair for yourself or for the public.

              I paid 13k for an LT40 Woodmizer sawmill in 1991, have cut probably well over 500,000 board feet on it, mostly off my own property of 70 acres, with the occasional logs folks bring to have sawed, and I figure conservatively, it’s paid for itself a dozen times over…..and I’ve cut enough lumber and firewood off the place, I’m pretty sure I got the original cost of the property back.

              Built most everything on my place from it + 3 rental properties and so on. My house has a $30k set of kitchen cabinets if bought retail (quarter sawn red oak, all raised panel doors), red oak interior doors that cost $400 each retail (and you get oak veneer over poplar core at that price) I probably have 5 bucks in lumber….heck the hardware was the most expense….and so on.

              House itself I built with double 2×4 exterior walls (inside wall studs on 16″, exterior on 24″, 9″ x 3/4″ plywood plate joins them at the top)…great R value. Sky is the limit when lumber costs nickle/board ft.

              Bought a little Williams Hussy molding machine..$900…made all the door/window/base/jambs for my house and rental houses. Typical finger jointed pine runs dollar/bdft. You can easily spend couple grand on moldings for average house. I make beautiful red oak, cherry, etc molding for nickle/bdft.

              • Paid for my LT 30 4x over the first cutting job i did,,,, ran it for 15 years then sold it for 9k

          • Speaking of paying cash…. I live similar to you based on your comments. However, I had an interesting experience today. I went to the Chase JP Morgan bank branch this morning to pay my credit card bill. I laid the card and the cash down so the teller could enter the payment. She asked for identification. I told her my name was on the card and that was the account I was paying off. She told me that an id was required when making a cash payment because “cash isn’t traceable”. I asked her if an id would be required if I paid the card off with a check. No. I pointed out to her that when Chase JP Morgan wanted a bailout by the taxpayers they didn’t ask for my id they just took the money. This is a brand new card I got for the airline miles. Needless to say once the miles are posted the card account will be closed. A few minutes later I wen into my regular bank and told the teller what happened. Her reply was, “I bet I can guess which bank it was.” She pointed out the window at the Chase JP Morgan branch across the street. She then related how a customer at our bank needed to make a cash deposit at Chase into his son’s account. They wouldn’t let him because his name wasn’t on the account. It didn’t matter that this was a bit of an emergency and the kid needed the money in a hurry. Chase would not accept the deposit.

            • Wilson, the banks in my area are the same way. BANKS REALLY DO SUCK.

            • Speaking of requiring an ID at the counter, I think Uncle is making this standard practice at all banks if a “large” sum of cash withdraw is involved. Take this example, which I encountered myself – I went to an AZ Federal Credit Union branch (the one I opened an account with years ago). I asked for 500 cash (by today’s standards – inflation, etc – that is a trivial sum); granted I’ve not withdrawn that size in cash before. The teller asked for a picture ID. Upon furnishing my driver’s license, she typed in the driver’s license number into her computer. After fidgeting around for a few moments she gave me the cash. Uncle has got something going on, and I doubt it is for you or your children’s good.

          • Genius, AMEN. It’s the same with me. I’m debt-free myself. I only use cash for my personal transactions at brick-and-mortar stores. I only keep enough money in the bank to pay 2 particular bills every month with the debit card and I do very little online shopping. sporting goods stores in my area are doing as good as ever. I go to Bass Pro for my ammo and gun-cleaning supplies plus some other preps. The sales people there are friendly, knowledgeable, and always helpful; just like it oughta be. As far as xmas goes for me, I just get more preps for myself; same things I get all year long. Xmas is just another day to me. I didn’t know any of the states had either reduced or eliminated the SNAP benefit or that Dollar General was doing so bad. When dollar stores are in that kind of shape, you know we’re screwed. You’re right about people being broke because of the stupid decisions they make. I don’t have any credit cards either and don’t want them. My old Honda I bought from a private owner for cash only. To hell with credit; who needs it?

            • bought 2000 rounds of 9mm for 280 bucks on black-eye day(after rebate)….THAT’S the new currency.

          • Yep Genius, all puppies and rainbows.. Then they ban 86% of cash like in India with only a 4 hour warning. Got PM’s?? The new currency.

            • Re:SNAP FOOD STAMPS. The Gov needs to only let these food cards be used on healthy foods. No chips, beer, soda, donuts, candy and all that high sugar content crap. Just healthy basics vegatables, meats, rice, beans, etc. No Lobster and shrimp, caviar, that I would call luxery foods. Food stamps is just a subsidy for Fascist Corporations to plunder off of Taxpayers. Get rid of that, and watch the store shelves fill back up with alot more healthy food. And low income populations get heathier so they can go find work. How mamy big fat slobs do you see paying for crap with SNAP Cards? A lot.

        • What I find amazing is that “the smartest guys in the room” can’t figure out that when things like people’s health insurance doubles or triples in price, it’s going to affect their ability to buy other things. But I guess when you are one of the elite and make several hundred thousand or couple million a year, you lose the capacity to understand how such things impact people with little means.

          We’ve had a consumer driven economy for years. Now people don’t have the extra money to spend. And the “smart guys” sit around and scratch their heads and can’t figure out why.


          • it’s all PLANNED. they know VERY WELL what they are doing.








      2. I do alot of my household prepping at Dollar General.

        Something I’ve noticed they are doing in just the last, oh say, 6 months.

        The stock their shelves very sparingly.

        Baby wipes as an example. I stock those for the shtf. They never have more than 4 jumbo packs on the shelf at a time. I buy them all when there are any. (also great camping item)

        And lately, they haven’t had any at all. I prep shop every week.

        Pedialyte is another under stocked item I like to keep on hand.
        Some bathroom cleaners are under stocked.

        I would guess they are trying to keep inventory down in order to keep their expenses down. If sales are down they don’t want to be paying interest on merchandise that’s not moving.

        • Don’t forget yard sales! I get a lot of manual tools and candles and clothing etc. for killer deals. I got a ruger 10/22 like new for 60 bux once. Brand new breadmaker 5 bux, heavy 3/4 length wool lined mil jacket 5 bux, box of about 20 misc. candles 4 bux, heavy duty new ext. cord 1 buck and the list goes on.

          • And craigslist, search freeze dried. I got 72 #10 cans of freeze dried food 6 years old stored in air conditioned room for 400 bux! Solar stuff too real cheap. Try backpage dot com for deals on ammo, guns, etc. too without any paperwork.

          • Genius, I also go to yard sales and thrift stores all I can. On gun sales, the demand has gone down to some degree since the hildebeast got defeated. It’s possible we might see prices on guns, ammo, accessories, etc. come down some next year since it appears we have a better chance of keeping the 2A. I’ll look into that thanks for the tip.

        • Around here, Dollar General pops in a new store every time you turn around. I understand if you want to sell soda pop, you put lots of machines out there….but I can’t believe the same is true for brick/mortar stores. They put them out in the middle of nowhere, like they are trying to repeat the country store of yesteryear.

          • TN Andy, in my area we’ve had some new Dollar General AND Family dollar Stores pop up within the past year. But we don’t have as many soda machines out there as we used to have. The Krogers in my area all used to have soda machines but had them removed a few years ago. Now only the Cash Savers and Save-A-Lots have those, plus the wallyworlds. Other stores have also eliminated the soda machines. Used to I could go anywhere in town, stop at a soda machine outside, put in the right amount of change, get a soda or two, and be on my merry way. Now if you want to stop for a soda you have to go into a stinkin’ convenience store and they’re all owned by foreigners.

        • Dollar General has just started moving into my part of the country, and I’m expecting them to do well. Wal-Mart will be somewhat less of a threat because we have a ton of people around here who want absolutely nothing to do with Wal-Mart. Their only real competitor here will be Dollar Tree. From what I’ve seen of General’s product mix, it’s at least three cuts above Tree’s; they carry a number of items that you have to canvas an area of Trees to find in one or two stores. Plenty of national brands.

          Definitely agree with you on General being a go-to for low cost prepping. Better selection of sugar free drink mix singles. Instant coffee singles can be found at any General, versus only the larger Tree stores. In terms of first aid supplies, General has a good number of items that Tree either does not carry or can only be found in larger Trees if you dig for them.

          I’ll say this, though: there are a handful of items that I will go to Tree for because I can get plenty of what I’m looking for, without having to travel more than 10 minutes in any direction to find a Tree. Those items are matches and medicine travel packs. For prepping purposes that’s how you have to shop a Tree: you’re going to have to sift through a lot of chafe to find a small amount of wheat.

          • Dollar General, the poor man’s Walmart 🙂

            • i have tried to shop at dollar tree and dollar general, but it SEEMS to ME that 99c store has better pricing. a lot of stuff at those stores seem like good prices, until you find their packages are so much smaller. you get less per dollar spent. CONvenience is SUPPOSED to cost more, and i think it DOES at the dollar stores. i’m sure there are bargains there if you sift through it all. last year we were buying cherry and apple pie filling for 99c, for example(that’s a great shtf food in the FRUIT department). we make cobbler with that, a can of 7up and a box of cake mix(google it). often you can find 28oz cans of fruit at these stores for 99c….i bought apricots a year ago for that price….cleaned out the shelves and went back for the next week or so until i was sure there was no more coming for that price. just a few days ago at winco here in so cal i bought creamed corn, whole corn, or green beans for 33c….bought 10 cases of each….THAT’S how you prep, you always got to be ready to snatch up great deals…in quantity.

        • they have great light bulbs

          • great paper products and cleaning supplies, too.

            the toys, however, break before you get home. no good.

            • “made in china ” IS a warning label, afterall.

        • they have great light bulbs

      3. this is by design..research “the cloward and piven strategy”

      4. time to tear down the system, and hang those that are responsible.

      5. My fixed cost are always creeping up. things like car insurance, taxes on utility bills,property taxes. The availability of service charge on the electric bill went from 17 dollars to 19 dollars. every time I turn around it seems some parasite wants some money. The lower priced fuel has helped a bit. But we don’t drive as much as we used too. We try to shop online and get a better price and no sales taxes. Had to buy a box of diapers for the grand kid. $30 for a box of diapers!

        • i shudder to THINK what happens to U.S. when gas gets back to 4 bucks….

          • The Globalists would love for the US Tax Slave to pay $4.00 per gallon at the pump, but the economy crashes every time the gas prices get close to $4.00 per gallon and demand drops off a cliff. $4.00 per gallon is a pipe dream for the globalists elites.

      6. “Wall Street forecasts for 93 cents a share; sales rose 5% from the prior year to $5.32 billion, missing analysts estimates for $5.36 billion”


        “wallstreet – analysts ”

        who have NO F’en clue about main street let alone about fly over country

        the bankers need to swing for their treason

        every last one of them

      7. Old Guy, I hear you loud and clear. I’m also paying more money for certain things than I used to. My area is teeming with parasites. Lower-priced gas is the only thing I see that’s helping at all. Ain’t nothin’ cheap any more.

      8. I hear some of you are doing well, and I’m happy for you. I am a missionary in Alaska and NOT doing so well. My financial support comes from what friends, family, churches send the mission organization specifically for me. This summer was one of the worst in my past 16 years. Some months just a couple of hundred dollars came in to provide for me to live.

        In ’97 I was earning $60,000 a year as a field engineer for an architectural firm (lower 48), now i’m barely existing. I certainly understand those who are thankful for their Dollar General store. It would certainly be a blessing here, as EVERYTHING is about 30% higher than in the lower 48. I’m not complaining though, for God is gracious in so many ways.

        But it is not easy for a number of folk; not everyone is able to make money easily, and I encourage all of us to have sympathy and help those who are struggling and less fortunate than you might be.


        Son of Liberty

      9. Remember Trump must match Obama’s debt creation or else the whole shithouse collapses. Trump will have to battle the debt ceiling in 2/17, agreement due 3/17. Trumps budget likely will be 750 Billion SHORT and the economy will contract because Trump won’t be spending as much as Obama. Debt spending is the only thing keeping Walled Street running. Should the dollar climb above 113 it will be game over for fiat money system as a cascade effect will destroy $50T globally by Ramadan. S&P 333 and 30 yr mortgages above 7%. And the “real news” sites boast a DJIA of 50,000 BAHAHAHA. The big question is, will Trump add another 30 million “immigrant” people, start new wars, and add as many on to welfare in order to keep the national debt doubling by eight years or will debt growth fall and take Walled Street along with it.

        • Who fucking cares?

          Fundamentals are more important than all that fucking paper chasing bullshit.

          Wall St. produces fucking NOTHING!!!!!!!!!!!

        • I hope Trumpster deals with the government like a business man,
          What business, run by a responsible manager, would continue hiring people and expanding and spending money when their revenue does not keep pace with their expenses?
          Cut that beast to the bone! Its time for a ROF the likes of wich has not been seen since the 30s

        • Trump should go ahead and try to out spend Obummer, so that we can get all the new infrastructure built before the currency crash and He has to be the one to tell the scum bag bond holders who are responsible for funding our gubermint that they won’t get paid. Bond holders should get the knife in the back for promoting Big Gubermint with their money.

      10. I have been making up some backpacks, and just for kicks went to goodwill, church resale shop, dollar general,TSC, and walmart. For less than $40.00 I could eat 3 meals a day, live well under a bridge, in the woods or where ever for weeks with it. I have noticed a downturn in the economy, and while building the pack I noticed the disparate people in the places I shopped. It does not surprise me much though.

        • “noticed the disparate people in the places I shopped”
          better have your head on a SWIVEL nowadays, folks! situational awareness is KEY. don’t get sucker-punched!

      11. A cascading dumpola!! Corporations will have to issue trillions of new shares in order to make higher interest payments against their record corporate debt. Corporations will have to issue trillions of new shares in order to keep central banksters non-majority shareholders.

      12. Things i notice- phone company has layed off contractors till next year, floral shop is slow, people are not paying dues at Taekwondo. Lots of places for sale, shops closed, and less traffic on roads outside of the major cities you can see it even more. Resteraunts are not full, and although many shop they don’t have as many bags in the mall as years past when they walk out. Yet some who aren’t paying attention charge up the plastic, and go through life oblivious to their current surroundings. We shall see where this goes.

        • I was so fucking pissed when Andorra got pressured by France and Spain into instituting the fucking income tax.

          What the fuck is wrong with duty free luxury goods?

          What the fucking is wrong with being rich?

          Andorra was fucking great! They have one of the worlds highest life expectancies.

          • Andorra
            Country in Europe
            Andorra is a tiny, independent principality situated between France and Spain in the Pyrenees mountains. It’s known for its ski resorts and a tax-haven status that encourages duty-free shopping. Capital Andorra la Vella has boutiques and jewelers on Meritxell Avenue and several shopping centers. The old quarter, Barri Antic, houses Romanesque Santa Coloma Church, with a circular bell tower.

            • hahahaha got meself moderated for using the word


        • I’ve noticed a lot of the same stuff you’ve noticed. I tend to pay attention to real estate signs; more and more of them are popping up by the day. Some of the “for sale” signs I’ve observed for months have been pulled down due to lack o interest. Lots of “new price” and “priced reduced” signs on properties in what are normally considered coveted locales. Ridiculous amount of retail/office/commercial space available, and the developers are continuing to add to the oversupply.

          One thing I’ve observed on residential real estate is the number of properties for sale that are clearly unoccupied or have been window-dressed to make it look like someone is living there; they make up the majority of for-sale residential. A significant number of these fallow residentials are in those coveted locales.

          Beyond that, I’ve also seen for sale signs, one after the other along both sides of the road, in front of properties that are homesteading-caliber properties. It’s like everyone is trying to bail out of these properties at once. The question is why, considering that’s a move that does not make a lot of sense.

          Don’t know how many of the previous occupants of these now-fallow homes were smart enough to find a dog-squeeze engineer eager enough to give them a mortgage for 150% of the value of their property so they can walk away. Only way they’ll be able to convert these balance sheet assets into actual resources is to draw those mortgage proceeds out, bit by bit, and hoard cash to acquire resources. They’re not going to get the cash to acquire resources by attempting to sell these properties.

          • when interest rates go UP, home prices go DOWN….this is going to be EPIC!

          • I wouldn’t blame people for walking away from their homes. I’ve experienced massive increases in property tax for my home when all the home prices were collapsing by 40%. The gubermint and the school administration see your home as an ATM that they can use to finance their spending problem while they indoctrinate other people’s children when I don’t have any yet.

      13. Martin Luther Malcom X Trump gonna take yo welfare check!

      14. Brick n Mortor Stores are being cannibalized by Amazon. Its important to help support your local shops. These are your peeps. Keep your money local. I always try to shop at a closer small Hardware Store than driving 30 miles round trip to a Lowes Big Box. Every little bit helps. I believe the worst is about to unfold in 2017, before it gets better economically. The entire Globe is in a downward spiral. Some Countries in deep collapse already. So help those closest to you first. Avoid Amazon and mail order. Buy American made first, avoid China Crap. Buy Xmas gifts and bargain sales like at Flea Mkts. These people are locals selling off their stuff to pay their bills like at area yard sales. They need help too. What are you personally doing to help make America Great Again?

        • I don’t shop to help out the little guy. I shop for what I need or want to use. My decisions to buy anything other than food takes on average longer than 2 weeks. Local stores tend to sell generalized goods when I want something specific. And Flea Markets sell mostly knick knacks and women’s clothing, neither of which I need. The Big Box stores aren’t much better, so a lot of my shopping is done online, rarely Amazon maybe twice a year which is why I don’t go for Amazon Prime.

      15. _

        A catastrophic illness is the major reason middle class people become poor.


        • __

          Divorce puts women with children at risk, except for women professionals. Female executives, doctors, lawyers, ect. are going to be ok. But working class women who have highschool or just a little college and work in clerical support positions, as waitresses, hair dressers ect. should put up with their husbands idiosyncrasies, unless he beats her. IMHO.


          • no, B, the gub-mint takes CARE of women with children in amurca, which contributes to the broken family syndrome.

            • Buttcrackofdoom:

              Not very well. It is just enough help to keep them and their kids ok for a while, if that. But ultimately it is a trap. And yes, it encourages women to think they don’t need a man, but they are mistaken. So, in a sense what I said and what you said are both true.


              • agreed! they just aren’t smart enough in america to figger out what’s best for ’em.

      16. So are you living in a War Zone?

        I read an article from the Chicago Tribune and the tally for those killed there has reached 700. More than L.A. and New York city combined.

        • meanwhile, the cops have stolen MORE through “asset forfeighture” than THIEVES have stolen in america.

      17. On YouTube
        Jessica Sweet

        The Podesta Brothers were in Portugal on the day Madalyn McCann went missing, staying less than half a mile away at the home of Sigmund Frued’s grandson, known pedophile, Clement Freud.

        Is this true or what ???


        • Mac-:-

          If this story is true, I think it deserves an article.


          • B from CA,
            who knows if the story is true or not, BUT the the thousands of missing children IS TRUE and the pedophile rings are true, so ANY publicity to help rid the world of those type of people would be GOOD!!!
            so MAC, a look into this would be great!!

      18. Heres an observation,,,,
        ALL of the media is biased
        ALL of the media is engaged in some sort of wierd show.
        I really dont get it,
        People really are
        1. Not capable of rational thought
        2. Not capable of civility
        3. Not very reasonable
        4. Just plain dumb!
        Its a shame, MSM, ALT media, doesnt matter,
        And what the hell is wrong with the younger generations?
        I mean, i know i was also sort of a knowitall too at one point,
        But WTF! Now these younger generations are just plain ridiculous for some reason, and they really have no freakin clue. I have met more young people who have drunk the crazy juice than who have a good head on their shoulders, theres still some reasonable ones out there but again, WTF!
        And they call me a “deplorable”

      19. I like the Dolla General.

        They have nice, cheap boxed Chardonnay and real good Pecan Delights with caramel.

        Downside – the TP is way too linty and it leaves a snow like trail after use if you wear loose sweatpants like I usually do!

      20. Yep nailbanger, media is a joke. Just talking heads repeating what they are told to say.

      21. Having lived most of my life in the Washington, DC area, I can tell you that the people focus too much on politics and government. With the amount that we purchase from abroad, we need more manufacturing and agriculture to produce goods that we can sell abroad. When you restrict these for policy objectives, you really hurt the economy. Taxing people and creating jobs through government jobs just doesn’t cut it in the long run.

      22. The poor and dumb always get screwed over. The smart guys always make sure they get paid first. Whenever the government says they are going to goose the economy, that money always has to pass through hundreds of hands before it ever finds its way into the pockets of the poor or the unemployed. Charities are the worst scams going and pretty well all of them are self-serving agencies that funnel the cash up to their management board.

        The best thing you can do for a person is to give them a steady job. That way, they can plan and save money. Slowly put their life together. Obama has not been able to create steady jobs for most of the bottom half of society. It does not matter for the top 20 per cent if their job is steady because the pay is large enough that they can save it to carry them over the fallow periods. But when you are on a tight income, then there is no surplus to save. That’s when the gouging done by government agencies really hurts people. Every time they raise a fee or tax, they push the bottom 50% down the crapper.

      23. I have also noticed capital controls in many countries like India, China, Venezuela, and Mexico. This is the system collapsing in on itself. So much for smoke and mirrors, yet people in general don’t realize what’s happening. Which is the supports are crumbling that keep this going. We are in no man’s land right now with no History to look back on to learn from. It is hard to say what comes next in the big picture.

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