Retail to Pick Up This Holiday Season

Good News for Retail, Research Firm Forecasts 3.2% Holiday Growth for Retail Sector

PR Newswire

RetailNext Inc., the worldwide expert and market leader in IoT retail analytics for optimizing shopper experiences at brick-and-mortar retail stores, announced a positive forecast for U.S. retail performance over the November through December Holiday period, predicting a 3.2 percent year-over-year lift in sales, driven partly by a 14.9 percent increase in YoY sales through digital channels.

Based on current retail trends and broader macro-economic data, RetailNext’s forecast for U.S. retail stores during Holiday 2016 (November – December) includes:

  • 3.2 percent increase in overall sales YoY for the U.S. retail sector (excluding automobiles and petroleum), with higher margins than recent holiday seasonsDigital sales to grow from 14.4 percent to 16 percent of total retail sales
  • Digital sales increase 14.9 percent YoY
  • Seasonal top performers will come from women’s fashion and jewelry
  • Wearable technologies will be significant in overall holiday shopping, be it either in clothing/accessories category or in its traditional place within consumer electronics
  • Slower growth rate of 1.9 percent for general merchandise and specialty store segments
  • Brick-and-mortar store traffic projected to decline 11 percent in November and 5 percent in December as compared to 2015
  • Strong selling metrics will minimize the impact of lower traffic, with conversion increasing 0.5 percent in December, contributing to a 6.5 percent lift in Sales per Shopper

“Shoppers continue to adopt cross-channel shopping journeys, and by doing so they require retailers to seamlessly present branded experiences across all shopping touchpoints, both online and in-store,” said Shelley E. Kohan, vice president of retail consulting at RetailNext. “While Black Friday, Super Saturday and Cyber-Monday will continue their starring roles, retailers who reimagine Thanksgiving as a month-long event culminating with the holiday weekend will start the season strong, and those retailers nimble and agile enough to act in December on lessons learned in November will win the season.”

Impact of Election 2016
While the uncertainty of the upcoming presidential election has some markets nervous, a great many economic indicators are trending positively, including oil prices, interest rates, unemployment and inflation.

“There will be slight degrees of variability in early November due to the elections,” added Kohan, “but any residual angst from Election 2016 will likely be well over by Thanksgiving. As compared to 2015, there are two additional shopping days between Thanksgiving and Christmas, and when coupled with generally positive economic indicators, I look for the overall industry to close the year relatively strong.”

“Retailers will be emphasizing initiatives around the shopping experience, keenly stressing the easing of pain points experienced by shoppers in their journeys. In addition to ensuring product availability, price matching and pricing transparency will rise to the forefront, along with providing the necessary training to allow sales associates to close the knowledge gap where shoppers frequently know more about the brand and its products and services than associates do.”

Retail Performance Pulse flash reporting
Again this year, RetailNext will publish its daily Thanksgiving Flash, a composite of key in-store retail metrics for the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, designed to highlight macro retail performance and enable brick-and-mortar retailers and media to benchmark performance with frequent, near real-time updates. Based on the monthly Retail Performance Pulse, the Flash is developed from specialty and large format retail stores on the RetailNext analytics platform and located within the continental United States, and will be available starting Friday, November 25.

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