Tuesday, 18 December, 2018

Retail Pulled Off Strongest Holiday in Years Despite Apocalypse Narrative

Kohls stock price retail Markets Insider
Orlando Vargas | 13 January, 2018, 06:44

December e-commerce sales rose 1.2% from November and 12.7% from December 2016, according to the report. However, many questioned exactly where that increased spending would go. ― Reuters picCHICAGO, Jan 13 ― United States holiday spending jumped 5.5 per cent ― its biggest gain since 2005 ― spurred by stronger employment, rising consumer confidence and expectations of higher wages and bonuses after the recent tax bill, the National Retail Federation said yesterday. It marked the fourth consecutive month of increase for the industry after a bruising year strewn with bankruptcies and department store closures largely from the shift to online shopping.

The federal government also revised its November estimates upward to 0.9% growth over October, from 0.8%.

However, sales of some more discretionary items, such as sporting goods, book and music stores declined by 1.6%, alongside a 2.9% fall in those at miscellaneous store retailers.

Retail sales during the holiday season rose 5.5% in 2017 to $691.9 billion, exceeding the National Retail Federations forecast of a 3.6%-to-4% increase.

Combined with last month's glowing consumer spending data, economists say, the us economy is showing signs of strength going into the new year.

Economists had expected retail sales to rise by 0.4% compared to the 0.8% increase originally reported for the previous month. "Consumers were ready to spend this season", Jeff Gennette, Macy's chief executive, said in a statement.

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Ebullient U.S. consumers shopped at the healthiest pace in more than a decade during the holiday season, a sign of burgeoning economic strength.

Not all categories of retail fared well in December.

With the optimistic outlook for consumer spending, Fed officials expected the USA economy to grow 2.5 percent this year, an upgrade of 2.1 percent from their forecasts in September last year.

Department store chain Bon-Ton Stores, Inc., announced that its comparable-store sales for the nine-week holiday period decreased 2.9%, while sales declined 6.6% in the third quarter. Fluctuations in sales often reflect changes in gas prices, not volume.

Sales were uneven across other categories last month. Retailers closed a record 7,000 US stores a year ago, while dozens of big-name companies, including Gymboree, RadioShack and BCBG Max Azria, filed for bankruptcy.

"The Dec details show robust increase in furniture, building materials, and non-store retailers, while department stores did badly, with sales down 1.1%".

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