Posts filed under “Retail”

December Retail Not So Hot

We previously addressed the holiday retail season (here and here). This week, the Commerce Department released their data, which included food, and gasoline and automobiles also. By pretty much any measure, both holiday sales and total retail sales were below consensus.

Note that these numbers were only disappointing by Wall Street’s bloated expectations; My forecast for holiday sales was 3-4% — on the low end of Wall Street (but Bullish for me!)

That turned out to be precisely correct, with sales coming in ~3.5%.

The strongest year over year gainers in retail sales were:

-Gasoline stations
-Food services & drinking places
-Nonstore retailers (internet/mail order)
-Building material & garden eq. & supplies dealers

Not a very impressive list: Inflation, internet, home boom, and food. 

I’m curious as to how much personal bias gets built into these scenarios. Are strategists and economists swayed by their own salaries and bonuses, their holiday shopping and own gift giving ? Its a curious question, one that is deserving of academic study.

Here’s the WSJ’s take on the recent commerce department data:

Retail_20060113180813
"Retailers’ December sales showed solid growth from a year ago but appeared to be slowing from prior months, stirring uncertainty about the outlook for consumer spending — a vital force in the economic expansion — in 2006.

In the government’s most comprehensive assessment yet of December consumer spending, the Commerce Department on Friday said sales of $358 billion represented a 6.4% increase from a year earlier — less than the 8.7% growth seen in December 2004.

But December’s sales were up just 0.7% from November on a seasonally adjusted basis, and much of the gain came from a bounce in auto showrooms, where sales had dropped sharply between July and October, and from a jump in sales at gasoline-service stations. Excluding those categories, retail sales inched up just 0.1%.

Sales also appeared to decline in several important categories from November, including general merchandisers, department stores, electronics stores and building-supply stores. The estimates were preliminary and will be updated by the government in February.

Meanwhile, the National Retail Federation, a trade group, said holiday sales started out well in November, thanks in part to heavy promotions at the beginning of the shopping season. But sales ended up flat in December after a lull in the early part of the month. Its figures, which exclude car sales and sales at gas stations and restaurants, show December sales rising 5.7% from a year earlier."

Source:
December Retail Sales Grow at Slowing Pace,Clouding Outlook   
RAFAEL GERENA-MORALES and AMY MERRICK
THE WALL STREET JOURNAL, January 14, 2006; Page A1
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB113715802966945966.html

ADVANCE MONTHLY SALES FOR RETAIL AND FOOD SERVICES
December 2005
FRIDAY, JANUARY 13, 2006, AT 8:30 A.M. EST
http://www.census.gov/svsd/www/fullpub.pdf

PDF:  Monthly_sales_for_retail_and_food_services.pdf

Category: Retail

Consumer Spending and Housing Correlation

Category: Economy, Real Estate, Retail

More on Holiday 2005

Category: Retail

Good — Not Great — Holiday Shopping Season

Back on December 1, I mentioned that "Holiday sales increases can be in the 3 to 4% range." This modestly Bullish call was at the very low end of Wall Street projections.

The prime motivation for that range was the decreasing gasoline prices post Katrina, and the love affair with Plasma Screen TVs (that was the good news). Keeping the Bullishness modest was the negative real income for the middle class; on the other end, the increasing take home pay for the ultra wealthy supported the relative strength of the luxury retailer.

The WSJ reports that "overall, Retail Sales rose 3.2%." And, the big winners were the luxury stores. Its a pleasant surprise anytime projections like this end up that accurate.

I also wish to remind you (again) how the silly NRF projection of 22% was; Their absurdity was a statistical abomination (and they were chastised in this space for it)

Here’s the Journal’s summary:

Holiday shoppers spent big on a few products last month, but held out for last-minute deals, resulting in mixed performances from U.S. retailers. Cash registers rang at luxury retailers and teen specialty shops, but sales at Wal-Mart Stores Inc. disappointed.

Overall, sales at stores open at least a year, a measure known as same-store sales, rose 3.2% in December from a year earlier, according to an index of 66 chains compiled by the International Council of Shopping Centers. The trade group, based in New York, had expected same-stores sales growth between 3% and 3.5%. According to the tally, same-store sales at luxury stores grew 6.4%, while discounters ticked up just 2.6%.

"All combined it was good, not great," said Jeff Klinefelter, senior research analyst at Piper Jaffray. "When we finally got the last-minute rush, it was the higher-end consumer that followed through with spending."



Source:

Luxury Stores Were Holidays’ Stars
Overall Retail Sales Rose 3.2%, Slowed by Discounters; Holdout Shoppers Also Hurt
STEPHANIE KANG
THE WALL STREET JOURNAL,January 6, 2006; Page A2
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB113646296655138522.html

Mixed Stockings for Retailers
http://online.wsj.com/documents/retro-060105sales.html

See the WSJ’s retailer chart here:

Read More

Category: Retail

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An Accident-Prone Economy

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