As December is coming to a close, retailers are making a list – of sales – and checking them twice. Black Friday has become a month-long endeavor these days, and retail businesses desperately needed to keep those tills chiming through the New Year. For many, their holiday hopes have been answered – and at Yorkville Advisors we know this will have a positive impact on their stock price.
Consumer spending is strong heading into the last days of 2017. Growth in the days between Black Friday and Cyber Monday was up by nearly double digits. And that’s good news for American retailers, who have depended very heavily on the last few days before Christmas the past few years. Market watchers say sales are up, especially compared to last year. Some are even describing the uptick as “significant,” certainly good news for many retailers.
Many consumers make their holiday budgets based on feel. How confident are they that they will have what they need to pay the bills next year? How good do they feel about their job, and about their prospects for having an even better “next year.” These days, many Americans are feeling pretty good about things.
The job market is strong, unemployment is down, the stock market up, and home values are on the rise… all of these are positive signs to consumers who were looking for a reason to splurge this holiday season.
But not every business is enjoying the wealth. One of the biggest segments to grow this season, again, was online retail. Internet shopping was up sharply once again, making Cyber Monday the biggest online sales day in US history.
Online retailers like Amazon benefited greatly from this trend, as did brick and mortar stores that made it easy for shoppers to buy online, even if they still had to pick up in the store.
And businesses that struggled online? The gap between the haves and have-nots in retail continues to widen. People are still not going to malls, big box stores, and department stores like they have in the past. This slump led to another year of relatively disappointing apparel sales. Macy’s, JCPenney, and Kohl’s did all they could to get people in their stores this year, but they only had modest success.
Once again, the trends give online sales all the momentum heading into the new year. While people are definitely still going out to the stores, the trend line continues to shift. Retailers are losing time to find a way to fix this. At this point, modest programs and small incentives will probably not be enough to slow the trend. It will be interesting to see how some of the nation’s biggest retail brands decide to approach this problem in 2018 … because it’s not going away.