If you haven’t caught it, there was a great article yesterday in USA Today about the negative impact unfavorable media reports can have on the industry. Over here at Counter Culture, we’ve been pretty convinced of otherwise.Our main feeling has always been: Do consumers really care that much? If anything, we’ve always thought that reports of a chain doing poorly will actually attract shoppers because they’re going to expect bargains.Well, this article didn’t necessarily convince us otherwise (we’re not going to ignore a retailer’s announced store closings any time soo), but it did bring up a few points that we hadn’t considered.False rumors about gift cards not getting redeemed. We haven’t reported on anything like this, but it does make sense that this could have some negative impact. Charming Shoppes executives actually attribute this to weakened gift card sales over the holiday season.False reports about an unhealthy retailer can damage relationships with suppliers. Is this really true? We would hope that it isn’t and that suppliers have a financial relationship with stores that goes beyond just checking up on them in the media. (Plus, how many suppliers are doing all that great nowadays?)One point we were glad we saw: Journalists rely on speaking to “independent experts” because MANY MAJOR RETAILERS DON’T TALK TO THE MEDIA. The story particularly concentrated on the doom and gloom forecasts of Howard Davidowitz, an analyst who we’ve loved quoting in the past because he has such colorful things to say. We’ve always left it up to the reader to determine whether or not they agree with him.Also, make sure and look at the sidebar in the article that shows the health of some major retail chains based on S&P data. Interesting.

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