Posts filed under “Consumer Spending”

ICSC Retail Sales Data

Chain_salesHere’s some data Cherry Picking on my part:  yet another intriguing piece of Retail Sales data, from the ICSC:

"Chain store sales finished the “first phase” of the holiday shopping season (the pre-Christmas Day part) with a very mixed performance. There were pockets of strength, pockets of weakness, shifts in where spending occurred (online/in-store), shifts in the shares of spending on gift certificates/merchandise, a heavily discounted season (though largely planned), late consumer shopping, warm weather bouts paring seasonal demand and calendar issues affecting perceptions of strength."

Bill King notes "this amounts to an sales increase (pre-Christmas ) of just 1.7% y/y. This is far less than the 22.5% espoused by ShopperTrak."

Note that this is in Nominal dollars, implying that chain stores may have actually seen a sales decrease in Real Dollars:

"Although there is still one more week left in the December reporting period, comp-store sales for the five-week fiscal month of December—which will be reported on January 4, 2007—appear on-track for the low-end of our monthly range (2.5-3.5%) and as a result on the low-end of our range (2.5-3.0%) for the two-month November-December season . . .

Chain store sales rose by 2.5% in November, based on ICSC’s tally of 59 retail chains, and are expected to grow by about the same pace in December."

The one bright spot remains gift cards/post holiday shopping:

"With nearly one-in-five (18%) consumers who said they planned to shop on the day after Christmas (which was not significantly different from the 19% reporting that they shopped on December 26, 2005 when it was a federal holiday), the last week of the fiscal month might exceed modest expectations as consumers redeem those holiday gift cards and shop for the bargains on clearance."

YMMV . . .



Latest Week’s Sales Snapshot ICSC-UBS Weekly
International Council of Shopping Centers,
ICSC, December 27, 2006, 7:45 AM (ET)

Category: Consumer Spending, Economy, Psychology, Retail

The State of the Consumer, by the Numbers

Given our focus today on Retail sales this week, it is appropriate to reference another source of data on the consumer.

This commentary comes to us via Northern Trust’s Paul Kasriel. Paul is the Senior Vice President and Director of Economic
Research at NT, and I had the pleasure of meeting him (and Caroline Baum) at Bloomberg last month. He is the recipient of the 2006 Lawrence R. Klein Award for Blue
Chip Forecasting Accuracy.

His recent commentary focused on the Fed’s Flow-of-Funds data. It is rather insightful work into consumer debt and savings. Some of it might be a bit beyond the interest of many readers, so to make it more accessible, I did a little slicing and dicing. Here is my highly edited version, emphasizing The State of Consumer, by the Numbers:


Kasriel:  I love the Fed’s quarterly flow-of-funds report. It usually is the mother lode
of enlightening economic nuggets of information. And the Fed’s latest release on
December 7 of third-quarter data was rich with these nuggets.

The slowdown in
borrowing was due principally to the household sector: Chart 2 shows that after
hitting a post-WWII high of 14.6% in Q3:2005, household borrowing relative to
disposable personal income (DPI) dropped to 8.8% in Q3:2006 – the lowest since
7.6% in Q3:2001, when the economy was in a recession.

Notice in Chart 2 that
precipitous declines in this percentage tend to be followed by the onset of
economic recessions (indicated by the shaded areas in the chart).

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Category: Consumer Spending, Economy, Inflation, Real Estate

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Category: Consumer Spending, Economy, Retail

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Category: Consumer Spending, Data Analysis, Economy, Inflation, Retail

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Category: Consumer Spending, Economy, Retail