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Retail Newsline: Slackers, Sweethearts and Same-Store Sales

By Garrick Brown, Vice President of Retail Research, Americas

Today is the first Tuesday following the Super Bowl… which means that for about 16.5 million Americans it is the first day back to work following a long weekend of hype, food, more hype, football, even more hype, commercials, yet another round of hype, overblown half-time shows and… did I mention hype? But back to the nearly 17 million of you who played hooky yesterday… that number comes from a survey commissioned by the Workforce Institute at Kronos Incorporated and conducted by the Harris Poll. This survey had found that over 10.5 million Americans had already asked to take Monday, February 8th off prior to the big game. In looking at past data and based upon their polling of over 2,000 workers, the folks at Kronos surmised that all told, roughly 10% of the entire American workforce would simply not be at work yesterday. The report also concluded that…

  • As many as 7.5 million American workers would be late for work on the Monday following the Super Bowl.
  • 34% of workers admit to taking the day off (or coming in late) due to hangovers.
  • Nearly 20% of the Millennial and Generation Z workforce (workers 18 to 35 years old) were likely to miss work the day after the Super Bowl.

All of this goes to the point that when you hear the Super Bowl referred to as America’s “unofficial” national holiday, there actually is something to it. This being said, welcome back to work all you slackers! Congratulations to all of you Denver fans and condolences to our friends in Carolina. But before I move on, let me share one last stupid Super Bowl factoid with you before we (thankfully!) put this thing to bed for another year… it is estimated that the amount of guacamole eaten yesterday in the United States would be enough to coat the football field at Levi’s Stadium to a depth of 18 feet. I am guessing that this, in and of itself, would explain a big chunk of those work absences.

But let’s move on to the next holiday on our calendar… Valentine’s Day! The National Retail Federation (NRF) just published a new survey that predicts that Valentine’s Day Sales will reach a record high of $19.7 billion this year.

The NRF survey found that nearly 55% of American consumers plan on celebrating the Valentine’s Day holiday in 2016. It also found that those celebrating the holiday plan to spend an average of just under $147 on gifts. Candy is the top gift item for Valentine’s Day (50% of those polled planned to give candy this year). Valentine’s Day-related candy sales are expected to hit roughly $1.7 billion. Spending on greeting cards is expected to top $1.1 billion. Jewelry stores also should see a windfall; estimated consumer spending on necklaces, earrings and other jewelry items is predicted to hit $4.4 billion. Of course, restaurants are always among the biggest winners Valentine’s Day. The NRF predicts that American consumers will spend roughly $4.5 billion going out to eat to celebrate Valentine’s Day this year. Roughly four in ten Americans will celebrate the holiday in 2016 by either treating a date to a night out at a restaurant or by buying their paramour tickets to a show or event.

All of this should come as good news to U.S. retailers who largely saw January’s same-store sales activity come in below analyst estimates. Thomson Reuters had expected 0.2% sales growth from the select group of retailers that they track in their monthly index. Instead, the overall numbers for their index came in at -1.1%.  But keep in mind that the Thomson Reuters index is actually quite small, with just nine retailers included. Still, the overall numbers are pretty humdrum—but not a lot of standouts in either direction.

Retail Sales thumbYou can check out detailed retailer-by-retailer data by clicking here. By the way, these come to us by way of our good friend Mike Palenchar of the MR Group. In addition to putting together this free monthly report that he shares with the industry, you can get on his mailing list by dropping him a line at mpalench@columbus.rr.com. Mike is also one of the top retail talent recruiters in the business. He’s been active in the industry since 1999 and he specializes in identifying top talent for mid to upper level positions in the retail and building industries nationally. He’s helped a lot of people I know land some great positions and he is a good friend to the Newsline.

Outside a couple of bright spots, most retailers struggled with weather-related issues in January. This winter we have had the worst of both worlds for retail in the northeastern and Midwestern United States. We had an autumn and early winter that was so mild as to cheat the industry out of two entire apparel seasons, only to be followed up by record snowfall that locked down consumers. Too warm, too cold… let’s hope February turns out to be retail’s Goldilocks moment.

Be sure to check out our latest research reports by clicking here.

And feel free to check out my webinar forecast 16 Retail Trends to Watch in 2016.

This post is commentary from the latest weekly edition of our Cushman & Wakefield Retail Newsline, which you can subscribe to for free by e-mailing garrick.brown@cushwake.com.

garrick-brownGarrick serves as Vice President of Retail Research for the Americas. He speaks frequently at industry events and has been a keynote speaker at symposiums, conferences and market forecasting events for groups like the Appraisal Institute, Urban Land Institute, CREW, ICSC and PRSM. He is also a member of Lambda Alpha International, an invitation-only land use society for those who are involved in the ownership, management, regulation and conservation of land, but also those who are involved in its development, redevelopment and preservation.

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