The Gap Inc. (GPS), The TJX Companies, Inc. (TJX), Ross Stores, Inc. (ROST) & More: How to Stock Up for the Coming Collapse

You should stock up for the coming economic collapse, because American businesses aren’t. A just-released Commerce Department report adds to the growing list of indices pointing to a major economic decline coming our way. February inventories rose just 0.1%, well below the 0.4% increase economists had anticipated and much worse than the downwardly revised 0.9% increase seen in January.

When companies slowly rebuild their inventories, as they are now, it means factories produce less, lowering overall economic output. And if we look at the Institute for Supply Management’s inventory survey for March, we get a sense that when Commerce releases its own figures for the month, it’s going to look ugly. The ISM survey showed a 2% decline in March inventories to 49.5, an indication that things are contracting at an accelerated rate.

The down escalator
That’s on top of a collapse in consumer confidence, the non-participation rate in the labor market hitting Depression-era levels, unadjusted weekly unemployment claims jumping again, vehicle sales missing estimates, and a whole slew of other economic indicators coming in below expectations.

Clothing and accessories retailers had their best showing in February, as inventories gained 3% from January. Yet as we saw just recently, March retail sales contracted, so the uptick that was enjoyed is apparently over already, and coupled with a gloomy consumer outlook, those tax increases implemented at the start of the year are beginning to weigh down the economy.

The Gap Inc. (GPS)

Try this on for size
While some clothing shops such as The Gap Inc. (NYSE:GPS) beat analyst expectations on same-store sales last month, the fact that they were down 1% anyway is hardly a source of confidence. The TJX Companies, Inc. (NYSE:TJX) was down 2.2%, while Ross Stores, Inc. (NASDAQ:ROST) was up 2%, actually beating expectations, but far below the 10% jump it experienced a year ago.

Although some of the sales declines in March were the result of lower gas sales, Americans also spent less on other goods. Even among big-box retailers, the results were disappointing. Costco Wholesale Corporation (NASDAQ:COST) reported that same-store sales rose 4% in March, but they were significantly below the 5.2% analysts were anticipating. Overall, the Thomson Reuters index of retailers showed that comps grew just 2.2% last month, its lowest showing since September 2009.

Running off the road
One of the bright spots of the economy has been automakers, but there, too, car sales fell 1.3% in March to an annual pace of 15.3 million, down from 15.4 million the month before. Where Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F), General Motors Company (NYSE:GM), and Chrysler all reported sales gains, they couldn’t make up for the losses at many foreign manufacturers, and it’s showing, as car sales are steadily falling.

Many analysts point to the increase in taxes at the start of the year, particularly payroll taxes, as the lead cause for the slack showing up. The economy appears to be ratcheting down rather abruptly, following Europe’s epic slide into a double-dip recession that even China couldn’t stanch.

Perhaps we don’t need to act like doomsday preppers, but then again, stocking up for a potentially harsh outcome like a squirrel storing nuts for the winter might not be a bad idea after all.

The article Stock Up for the Coming Collapse originally appeared on Fool.com.

Fool contributor Rich Duprey has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Costco Wholesale (NASDAQ:COST), Ford, and General Motors and owns shares of Costco Wholesale and Ford.

Copyright © 1995 – 2013 The Motley Fool, LLC. All rights reserved. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

blog comments powered by Disqus
Insider Monkey Headlines
Insider Monkey Small Cap Strategy
Insider Monkey Small Cap Strategy

Insider Monkey beat the market by 52 percentage points in 24 months Click to see monthly returns in table format!

Lists

The 10 Countries with the Highest Suicide Rates

The 10 Most Technologically Advanced Countries in the World

The 10 Safest Countries in the World to Live in Peace

The 10 Top Selling Smartphones in the World 2014

The 12 Biggest Shopping Centers in the World

The 10 Friendliest Countries in the World

Qihoo 360 Technology Co Ltd (QIHU), Actavis plc (ACT), Yahoo! Inc. (YHOO) Among 20 Long Ideas from Sohn Canada

The 10 Laziest Countries in the World

The 10 Most Polluted Countries in the World

The 10 Most Dangerous Cities in America 2014

The Top 10 Gold Producing Countries in the World

The 10 Tallest Buildings in the World

The 10 Richest Stand Up Comedians in the World

The 10 Fattest Countries in the World

The 5 Best Summer Jobs for Teens

The 10 Most Religious Countries in the World Keeping the Faith

The 10 Most Educated Countries in the World

The 10 Most Popular Cell Phones in the World

The 10 Drunkest Countries in the World

The 10 Most Expensive Private Schools in the World

The 10 Smallest Countries in the World

Walking Dead Season 5 Spoilers You’ll Wish You Didn’t Know

The 10 Poorest Countries in the World

The 10 Greenest Countries in the World

The Top 10 Countries with the Highest Population in the World

The 10 Most Visited Countries in the World

The Top 10 Star Wars Characters in the Iconic Series

The 10 Most Expensive Android Phones in the World

5 Reasons Why The Illuminati Is Real and a Threat to Society

The 6 Scariest Halloween Costumes Ever Screamed At

The 4 Biggest Hedge Fund Managers in the World Today

The 15 Most Densely Populated Countries in the World

The 10 Biggest Tea Drinking Countries in the World

Top 6 Ways to Improve Your Checkout Process and Close Sales

The 5 Most Profitable Online Businesses You Can Start Today

The 20 Most Profitable Hospitals in the US

The 5 Most Profitable Home Businesses to Start

The 7 Teams that Will Win the Stanley Cup in 2015

The Top 10 Most Expensive Digital Cameras to Snap Stunning Shots With

The 10 Highest Quality Fast Food Restaurants In America Today

The 8 Best Halloween Decorating Ideas to Spook Up Your House

10 Marvel Women that Should Get a Movie Right Now

The 20 Best Remixes of Popular Songs that Will Make You Forget the Originals

7 Most Expensive Cities in the World

5 Least Expensive Cities in the World

10 Celebrities Who Believe In Scientology

10 High Margin Food Products to Build a Business Around

The 10 Most Expensive Clothing Stores in the United States to Get Decked Out At

The 5 Biggest Kickstarter Scams That Swindled Backers’ Donations

The 10 Most Expensive Boarding Schools In the World

Subscribe

Enter your email:

Delivered by FeedBurner

X

Thanks! An email with instructions is sent to !

Your email already exists in our database. Click here to go to your subscriptions

Insider Monkey returned 47.6% in its first year! Wondering How?

Download a complete edition of our newsletter for free!