Mr. Hippoman analyzes his business across two merchandise divisions ... Tops ... and Bottoms.
Here's the four year trend for Tops:
That's a non-stop train wreck, don't you think?
Here's the four year trend for Bottoms:
The past eighteen months haven't been pretty - but the eighteen months prior to that maintained total demand. So something was done with Bottoms during that timeframe, something that at least held things constant.
When analyzing a failing business, it is common to see different trends across merchandise divisions. Often, one merchant is experiencing more success than other merchants. This can cause bad feelings. When analyzing the business, I try to find a couple of successes, and then amplify the things that were done well.