• San Francisco

Retail Newsline: Same Store Slump = Coal in the Stocking?

By Garrick Brown, Vice President, Research – West Region

ChristmasStockings-resized-600I was at the Urban Land Institute’sStockings Fall Meeting last week in San Francisco and took the week off… Or, we sort of did… We kept gathering the top stories though and so we’re giving you two weeks of news, views and other tidbits of information.

First, let’s start with the Top Five list… which, this week, we are expanding to Top Ten. First off, you will notice I included a lot of holiday sales forecast info here. And you may notice that some of the stories are contradictory. Four out of five retailers believe that the 2015 holiday shopping season will be better than 2014… at least that’s according to a survey by ChannelAdvisor. Yet at the same time the National Retail Federation is predicting sales growth of 3.7% this year. That’s down from 4.1% last year. I have a full report and forecast I will be releasing in next week’s Newsline but I wanted to point out those conflicting views. Consumer confidence, despite all the stock market volatility since August has held its ground and actually increased (so far). Consumer sales numbers have been positive. Yet, the early forecasts for this year’s holiday sales season are fairly pessimistic. But are they accurate?

Well… September same store sales comparables came out last week. You 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 some great positions and he is a good friend to the Newsline.

But guess what… September’s numbers—despite consumer confidence holding firm—we’re a bit of a dud. Warm weather in September (I was in Phoenix two weeks ago and it was still 108 degrees) meant consumers punted on buying fall/winter apparel. Theoretically that should bounce back as temperatures cool, but it was one of the factors that led to overall sales dropping -0.2% year-over-year. This follows an August that saw a slightly worse -1.0%. And it reflects the third time in the past six months that same store comps have been negative. Which is why those early predictions for the holidays have been a little in the dumps… well, that and the fact that almost everybody was wrong last year. But are they overreacting this year? I’ll share my prediction and build my case (one way or the other) next week.

In the meantime, here are a few things for you to keep in mind for Black Friday. Though the importance of Black Friday continues to be diffused and diminished by early openings, all night openings and online encroachment, we are still looking at total sales in the $8.8 billion dollar range. Thanksgiving day alone we are probably looking at $3.8 billion in sales. This year you will see 32” HDTVs starting at $70 a pop. You will be able to score 50” HDTVs for as little as $175. The Amazon Fire HD 6 tablet will be on sale for as low as $60. Samsung Galaxy Tabs will start at $90 apiece. Xbox One and Playstation 4 bundles will be starting at $300. But enough of this… it’s not even Halloween yet… but winter is coming folks… winter is coming.

And, oh yeah, in addition to giving you a few days of reading with this week’s double issue of the Newsline, we have a double issue of ‘Who’s Doing What in Retail?’ as well. CLICK HERE to see these latest notes on retailer expansion news.

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 joined Cushman & Wakefield (formerly DTZ / Cassidy Turley) in October 2010. He 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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