The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index rose to 54.1 in August which is up sharply from 47.4 in July and far above most estimates. The same report also shows that consumers are more upbeat when it comes to expectations for the job market. With consumer spending accounting for approximately 70 percent of GDP, consumer confidence is one macroeconomic indicator that cannot be ignored.
In the CNBC video shown below, Costco CEO Jim Sinegal makes a few brief comments regarding the state of the retail economy. Mr. Sinegal emphasizes the need for better conditions in the employment market for retailers to see stronger demand.
Other than Costco’s importance as a leading retailer, why should investors pay close attention to Mr. Sinegal’s views? Berkshire Hathaway Vice Chairman Charlie Munger is a member of the Board of Directors of Costco and has made the following comments regarding Mr. Sinegal:
You just wouldn’t believe how efficient and sophisticated Costco’s warehouse operation is. Jim Sinegal is a fabulous business operator — like a Carnegie, Rockefeller, or James J. Hill. I consider him to be one of the top five retailers of the past century. He’s that good.
He works eighty hours a week and sets a terrific example for his entire organization in terms of work ethic, integrity, loyalty, and selflessness. He’s a moral leader as well as a practical leader. These are not minor virtues.
We have our own living, breathing Sam Walton at Costco.
Poor Charlie’s Almanack, 3rd Edition, page 147
It is unfortunate that the clip doesn’t include more from Mr. Sinegal directly but it is still worth watching.
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Disclosure: No Position in Costco