Loews CEO: Consumer Is 'Bereft'

Whether rich or poor, “the consumer is just bereft,” Loews Chairman and CEO Jonathan Tisch told Cramer Tuesday. “They don’t know what to do.”

With high energy costs, unemployment and declining home values, it’s hard for a person to know their net worth. In those cases, the high-end trips Loews and its hotels are known for are hard to take.

At least in the U.S. Luckily for bigger markets like New York, the weak dollar is bringing in foreign travelers.

“If it wasn’t for that,” Tischman said, “I’d be very concerned.”

Hotel occupancy rates are up about 2% to 3%, he continued, but certain markets like Hawaii and Las Vegas are disasters – his word – right now. Airlines are cutting back on the number of flight seats to Hawaii and consumers seem less willing to blow their money at a blackjack table.

Bigger travel and leisure companies are getting relief overseas, Tischman said, but smaller domestic firms are feeling the brunt of a lagging U.S. economy.

Despite all this, though, there’s still fierce competition for hotels that are up for sale. Private equity is still viable in this space and offshore capital is willing to pay up in order to get a footprint in the States – more so than Loews.

Watch the video for CEO Tisch's take on seat licensing for the new New York Giants stadium.

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