Another side benefit: No madcap mall crowds to do battle with on Black Friday! The shops on board offered their own special deals. But I didn’t have to wake up at 4 a.m. to get them, or park halfway to Siberia.
That said, what kinds of early reports are we getting about sales volume and profit prospects? And what do they say about the retail industry’s home stretch?
Well, Black Friday in the bricks-and-mortar world may not have been all that retailers hoped it would be. The research firm ShopperTrak said sales that day dropped by more than 10% to $10.4 billion from $11.6 billion a year earlier. A separate analyst quoted by CNBC deemed sales “perfectly average.”
|Less crowded than Black Friday, and more relaxing.|
The shift toward online sales appeared to continue, however. The National Retail Federation estimated that 103 million people went online to shop over the Thanksgiving weekend, compared with only 102 million at strip malls and shopping centers.
So what about Cyber Monday? Research firm comScore estimated in advance that online retailers would generate more than $3 billion in sales. The software company Adobe said late Monday that the advance estimate looked pretty accurate, with sales in that general range. That would represent a 12% rise from a year ago.
All in all, it hasn’t been an easy year for the retail industry. Major retailers like Wal-Mart, Macy’s (M) and Nordstrom (JWN) have struggled, as have a number of specialty retailers in the apparel, jewelry, and accessories businesses.
All of those stocks have struggled as a result, even as shares of Amazon.com more than doubled from this time last year. We’ll have to see full-season sales come in strong for both bricks-and-mortar AND online retailers if the retail sector overall is going to start contributing to market momentum, rather than subtracting from it.
|“All in all, it hasn’t been an easy year for the retail industry.”|
So what’s your take? Is your personal spending up by a substantial margin overall? Or are you spending the same amount, with just a larger percentage shifting to the online world from the offline? What do these figures say about retail stocks and the overall stock market? Let me hear about it on this web page.
Vacations offer a nice way to recharge. But I’m glad to be back in the saddle again, ready to hit it hard in this last month of 2015 and beyond! You weighed in on several issues in my absence, including the one I wrote about today — retail sales.
Reader Troy said: “I personally pumped more than $1,000 into the U.S. economy yesterday. As usual, Amazon.com (AMZN) was well-prepared for the traffic and offered some irresistible deals. In fact, I only encountered one website that was not equipped to handle the online traffic and I did not place an order.
“In this shift from bricks-and-mortar to online, a business MUST be able to handle the increased traffic of sales. I believe we are looking at an inevitable shift in sales from local to online.”
Reader Chuck B. shared some thoughts about China’s yuan currency being added to the International Monetary Fund’s “Special Drawing Rights” basket. The SDR hasn’t been modified since the euro was added in 1999, and the new weightings will take effect in October 2016. He said:
“It will make up about 10%, with the dollar at about 40%, and the euro about a third. The yen and pound will each be around 8%. The delay is to allow national organizations, etc., to redraw their investments to include Chinese bonds and such, without a sudden effect from making those investments.
“Nevertheless, the effect on markets in China could be astounding, and everyone should consider adding some carefully chosen Chinese stocks, ETFs, etc., to their own portfolios.”
He cited ASHR and FXI as ETFs that could benefit — to which Reader Mr. C. said: “You are so on the money. The Chinese are coming, and the world will ride the Dragon and leave the Eagle in the dust.”
Finally, Reader Ken weighed in about the ongoing conflicts in Syria, Iraq, and elsewhere in that part of the world. His take:
“I wonder what our world would be like if we didn’t always have to be on the warpath. If we were not such a huge presence in the Middle East, would ISIS even exist?
“The problem I see with warfare is that those who actually fight the wars have nothing to gain from them. The possible gain from war is for those who rule the countries and those who manufacture the materials for war.
“We need to make a giant step in evolution and stop attacking those who are different from us. Adopt a more live and let live attitude. I realize that at present, we cannot allow those maniacs to inflict their pain upon the world. But I do believe that if we could adopt a more intelligent approach, we might be able to solve the problem with less bloodshed.”
Thanks for sharing. I’ll be very interested to see if the holiday shopping figures do ultimately confirm that sales rose robustly this year … or if online just cannibalized bricks-and-mortar, with overall sales lackluster.
My colleague Larry Edelson will have more about the IMF news and the prospects for China soon, so stay tuned on that front. And as for the Middle East, it seems like nothing can end the cycles of war there. When we get deeply involved, vicious fighting ensues. When we pull out, fighting continues to rage anyway.
I’d love to be more optimistic. But with competing religious, territorial, economic, and geopolitical claims throughout the region, an end to conflict doesn’t seem likely in the near- or long-term to me. As always, feel free to add your voice to the mix below though.
Why aren’t companies spending on anything (besides their own shares and M&A, that is)? That’s what the Wall Street Journal attempted to answer in this story. It points out how business spending on capital equipment, new facilities, and other forms of investment is running at consistently weak rates, holding back the economic expansion.
More U.S. Special Forces troops could soon be headed to Syria to press the fight against ISIS. A few dozen commandos are already working with rebel forces, and more could join the current ongoing campaign of drone and airplane strikes.
The Puerto Rican debt crisis continues to simmer, with $355 million in payments that the government can’t really afford due today. The island is struggling under the weight of $72 billion in debt, lackluster tax income, and a weak economy. Moreover, it hasn’t gotten anywhere with its efforts to get approval in Washington to use the bankruptcy court as a way to re-negotiate its debt at more favorable terms.
How did the team of terrorists pull off their deadly strike in Paris two weeks ago? This New York Times story offers a chilling account of the planning process and the way things ultimately unfolded that fateful night.
Will capital spending ever come back, and if so, will that help bolster the economic recovery? What will adding more U.S. “boots on the ground” in Syria do for the fight against ISIS? Is Europe still vulnerable to more Paris-style attacks? Let me know your thoughts below.
Until next time,
P.S. Larry Edelson’s VITAL new report, “SUPERCYCLE 2015: Surviving ISIS, the Fall of Europe and the Death of Western-Styled Socialism,” could prove to be the most PROFITABLE report you read all year.
Hurry, click this link to read it now! It could make you very, very rich.