Less of a Loss 3/2/2010
Less of a Loss
by David Hachmeister
The January results cut the losses in stamps to below double digits for the first time since March of last year. In January we clocked in at a loss of about 9.5 percent. Other products also declined about 6 percent.
Also, in last month's column we had previously estimated the sales number for one participant. We now have those figures as well, so the previous month has been revised as shown on the graphs.
To us the first critical month to measure the recovery is April. That was the first month of nine consecutive months of double-digit declines in sales for stamps. Sales in February and March of last year actually rose! Any positive numbers before that would be a very welcome but unexpected joy.
Please note the big changes in the seasonality. The first three months now represent almost 32 percent of all sales. We all know the roof caved in on the industry starting in April, so this year's seasonality will be deeply influenced by the relative strength of the first 90 days of 2009 and the subsequent dramatic decline. This means the sales figures this year will be compared to an extremely unusual year in 2009. Things will appear a little worse than they actually are in the beginning of this year and better (we hope) in the final three quarters.
Click each graph for a larger view.