What Goes Down, Must Come Up.

If it’s not a law, it should be. It hardly seems fair that gravity on Earth is just a one-trick pony.

But this is reality, so we have to deal with it… even when it sucks; like this:

According to the National Retail Federation, retail industry sales for December, which exclude automobiles, gas stations and restaurants, declined 2.2% unadjusted when compared to 2007, and decreased 1.4% seasonally adjusted from November. In addition, November retail sales were revised down to a 3.4% decline unadjusted year-over-year from the original drop of 2.2%.

Okay, fine. No one really believed that sales over the holidays were going to be better than this. But they could have been worse. In fact, there was even some good news:

Among the few bright spots were health and personal care stores, where unadjusted sales grew 7.6% year-over-year. Sporting goods, hobby, book and music stores were up 0.7% unadjusted from a year ago.

And just because I vowed to keep my cup half-full at all times in 2009, I am going out on a limb and making a prediction: Retail sales in January 2009 will be up. Despite all the incredibly harsh weather and the absolute uncertainty. Despite the transition at the White House. Despite the inability of so many Americans to land a job or secure health insurance or refinance their mortgage loans. Things are going to get better… starting this month.

Of course, this is not a popular belief. According to a brand new Gallup poll, “A majority of Americans, 55%, think it will be two or more years before the U.S. economy starts to recover.”

But wait, it gets worse:

The poll finds that most Americans do not believe the bottom of the economic downturn has been reached — just 19% say the economy is now as bad as it will get. The vast majority — 79% — expect it will get worse before it starts to recover, with 46% saying it will get “a little worse” and 33% saying it will get “a lot worse.”

So, where do I come off with an optimistic forecast? After all, I’m still walking around with most of my holiday and birthday (January 1 for those of you who missed it) money in my pocket. So what gives?

I don’t know. Maybe I believe in change. And maybe I believe that change is about to happen. Or maybe I am just giddy with optimism because life is pretty darn good. I’ve got my health and my family and my friends and my job. I’m still here, still standing, still pushing, still striving. Why not be optimistic?

You do realize it is a choice, right?

Jim Sweeney

Jim is a veteran of the agency industry and the founder of Sweeney. He is uncommonly passionate about the idea of creating and implementing insanely great marketing campaigns that achieve insanely great results. He pioneered the full-service, full-circle agency model and continues to forge new ideas in an ever-changing industry. And he is accessible to everyone about anything, seemingly all the time, serving as a mentor to all agency personnel and clients.