Touchy-Feely Nation

When the Internet was just getting big I remember one retail analyst predicted that the shopping mall would die.

Why go out and hassle with parking and the elements, when you can just point, click and buy, he said.

I remember thinking then: you don't know my wife. Rarely does she ever buy something sight un-seen.

Me? I hate shopping. But I hate it less doing it on the Internet.

But here's what I've concluded: There are a lot more folks like my wife, than me. That's the reason stores are still crowded. And that's the reason why Federated Department Stores (search) saw fit to plunk down close to $11 billion for May Department Stores (search).

You don't put up those kind of dollars for dinosaurs. And, as Federated boss Terry Lundgren (search) tells me, Bloomingdale's, Macy's and Marshall Field's ain't dinosaurs.

Not only can you point, click and buy their stuff on the Web, but you can examine, touch and feel their stuff in their stores.

And when all is said and done, we are a society of touchers and feelers.

Wall Street geeks missed that. Federated paid big time betting on that.

Me? I should have just listened to my wife. She already knew that.

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