While stock market headlines are grabbing all the attention, it’s the destruction in the energy markets that should be of equal concern to many retailers. Oil did recover a bit on Tuesday from the heavy selling on Monday, but it is still at six-and-a-half-year lows.
Oil industry recruiter Swift Worldwide Resources had initially estimated that energy companies would layoff 150,000 people; they have now upped that number to 176,100. In July, Chevron said it would cut 1,500 jobs, 950 of those in Houston, and Royal Dutch Shell was cutting 6,500 jobs worldwide.
Six publicly traded oil producers have filed for bankruptcy protection and seven others are considered to be in default by Moody’s Investors Service. Some retailers have admitted to problems in that geographical region while others have said they haven’t experienced any issues.
Michael Glazer, chief executive officer of Stage Stores Inc., said during the companies earnings call that oil and gas industry declines and concerns over jobs caused soft store traffic in the second quarter. “The range of impact is not uniform, but stores exposed to oil and gas economies, most of which are located in portions of Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma and New Mexico, lagged the balance of the chain, contributing approximately 75 basis points of pressure to our column.”
Glazer said that oil would continue to impact the company for the remainder of the year and lowered guidance.
Kohl’s Corp. also stated that the south-central part of the country was weak. When asked specifically if the ceo was referring to Texas he answered, “Yeah, Texas and primarily the Houston market. I’m not sure that’s any different for most people with significant businesses down there.”
DSW Inc. reported during its second-quarter results that sales in the South were flat and the West was marginally negative.
However, Ross Stores Inc. said during its second quarter that Texas continues to be a strong performer and Dicks Sporting Goods Inc. also said it saw no difference in Texas and energy markets.
It may be early to call problems in the oil patch, but the effects are already being felt in the real estate market. Real estate analytics firm HouseCanary said that it is lowering its housing price forecast for Houston by 200 basis points to 17 percent cumulative growth through the third quarter of 2017. Home inventory in oil-rich Midland Texas is up 89 percent year over year and average home prices have dropped a whopping 8.35 percent in the latest quarter.
Other states that are also sensitive to oil prices include North Dakota, Alaska, Oklahoma and Louisiana. However, these states don’t have as large a population as Texas, but still suffer the same ripple effects.
Globally, oil has dragged down the value of the Russian currency causing those luxury shoppers to cut back and stay home. The number of Russian passengers arriving in Dubai dropped 31 percent in March and those going to Abu Dhabi dropped 10 percent in June.