Low traffic and higher spending signal change in U.S. holiday shopping
RetailNext this week released its monthly Retail Performance Pulse for the retail month of December and the cumulative November through December holiday shopping season.
The report found that the average transaction value (ATV) was up 5.6% and sales per shopper metrics were up 3% despite a drop in December store sales and shopper traffic. Store sales and shopper traffic were down 10.7% and 13.4%, respectively, compared to last year. The week before Christmas was the strongest week for store performance with store sales increasing 6.5% for the week, year-over-year.
Brick-and-mortar sales for the combined months of November and December were down 9.9% on a 12.3% decline in store traffic, but ATV increased 4.8% and sales per shopper increased 2.7%.
"With the lingering effects of Election 2016 and the huge growth in online shopping, particularly through mobile touchpoints, retail store performance was expected to have a relatively slow start to the holiday season," said Bridget Johns, head of marketing and customer experience at RetailNext.
"However, store performance increased tremendously in the week leading up to Christmas Day and the start of Hanukkah, posting sizable year-over-year gains from holiday 2015."
A number of retailers were disappointed in the holiday sale season prompting many to reduce its fourth quarter and full year guidance. Macy’s, Kohl’s, JCPenney and Sears in particular had high expectations for the season, but reported less-than-stellar numbers. Kohl’s and G-III Apparel reduced their outlooks this week due to the holiday performance.
The Retail Performance Pulse report is consistent with numerous reports this season including one from NPD that reported holiday shopping to be down compared to 2015 and another report from ICSC that found spending to be above 2015.
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