Lisa Fickenscher / New York Post – Expect a little less ho-ho-ho in the holidays this year. US consumers will likely reel in spending in November and December, dialing down to a 3.7 percent rise in retail sales, according to a new report. Sales gained 4.0 percent in 2014. “We are in a deflationary retail environment,” […]
Justine Griffin / Tampa Bay Times – As more people shop online, retail companies don’t anticipate hiring as many seasonal workers this winter to get them through the busiest shopping season of the year. Walmart, Macy’s, Target and dozens of other retailers are gearing up to hire thousands of seasonal workers in the coming weeks […]
While there were some reported ups and downs over the course of last year’s holiday shopping season, the early takeaway is that the season was, in the end, positive. While we’ll have to wait for hard numbers for more detailed insight, and while definitive conclusions might be a bit much to draw at this point, it does seem to me, as discussed in this edition of Retail Rap, like the increased length of the ever-expanding holiday shopping season didn’t have any appreciable negative impact. Regardless of the final sales numbers, that’s at least one positive development we can take away — and, given the way the season seems to grow every year, it might be an important one.
Perhaps the biggest factor impacting brick and mortar in 2015 and beyond is neither a positive nor a negative — at least not yet. It is a challenge, an unanswered question with a lot riding on the industry’s collective response: can retailers successfully optimize sales over all distribution channels?
Join me in the latest installment of Retail Rap to discuss the the positive developments that are seemingly unfolding for brick-and-mortar retail this year, and let me know what you think, as well.
Observant shoppers will have noticed something ominous in recent weeks: the arrival of fall and winter products and holiday marketing/promotions in many stores. As unbelievable as it might seem, considering the fact that much of the country is still experiencing 90-degree heat and a glance at the calendar shows that it is barely September as I write this edition of Retail Rap, the holiday hullabaloo is already underway. The Halloween décor you saw showing up in August in Walmart is not a figment of your imagination, and the cinnamon pinecones you smell in the bins outside the grocery store are really there.
My own personal take on the timing issue is that the holiday season phenomenon has been pushed about as far as it can reasonably go. When we go to the store and see all these signals that fall is here, even though both the weather and the calendar might say otherwise, there’s a kind of seasonal dissonance that sets in. Because who wants winter to come that quickly? How many shoppers are really ready to think about this stuff, much less actually start buying it? Ultimately, I’m not sure if this is helping to move more merchandise.
Let’s discuss the issues that the growing trend of pushing the holiday shopping “season” up earlier may cause for brick-and-mortar retailers in this edition of Retail Rap.
The best numbers came from the Department of Commerce, which estimated that U.S. retail growth during the holiday season came in at 4.1% over 2012 sales. Other organizations released estimates that were a bit less robust: the National Retail Federation (NRF) reported 3.8% growth, the International Council of Shopping Centers checked in with 3.0%, and ShopperTrak announced that sales that were up 2.7%.
Jeff Green and Lindsey Rupp/Bloomberg BusinessWeek—The list of U.S. companies that didn’t get what they wanted for Christmas is growing. United Parcel Service Inc. (UPS:US) became the latest when it said yesterday that a crush of last-minute orders resulted in higher costs and lower-than-expected earnings. Earlier this week, Best Buy Co. said holiday sales fell, […]