NRF: Holiday spending to increase even as shoppers cut budgets
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Consumers will take a conservative approach to spending this holiday season. According to NRF’s holiday consumer spending survey conducted by Prosper Insights & Analytics, the average holiday shopper will spend $737.95 on gifts, decor, greeting cards and more, 2% less than the $752.24 they actually spent last year. Despite this reduction in individual holiday budgets, NRF is forecasting holiday sales will increase 3.9% to $602.1 billion. NRF defines the holiday season as sales in the months of November and December and forecasts holiday sales growth each year based on U.S. Commerce Department data, such as previous months retail sales, the housing market and employment. NRF’s consumer spending surveys are not a part of the forecast model.
For the first time, NRF asked holiday shoppers if the political gridlock in Washington around U.S. fiscal concerns would affect their holiday spending plans. On average, 29% of respondents said the situation would somewhat or very likely affect their spending plans. Nearly one-third (32.7%) of those between the ages of 55 and 64 said political gridlock in Washington was somewhat or very likely to affect their spending, the highest percent among all age groups surveyed.
When asked specifically about the overall state of the economy and how it would affect their spending plans, more than half (51%) of consumers said the economy would in some way impact how they spend this holiday season. Specifically, 79.5% plan to spend less overall, looking to cut corners and tighten budgets where they can.
Other noteworthy results include:
- 57% of shoppers will buy gifts for themselves, down from 59% last year.
- Total spending on holiday decor will reach $6.8 billion.
- 4-in-10 Americans will begin shopping before Halloween.
- More than half of consumers (51.5%) will shop online, with the average person completing 39.5% of holiday shopping online, up from 38.8% last year.
- Online holiday sales will grow 13% to 15% to as high as $82 billion.
- 53.8% of smartphone owners and 63.2% of tablet owners will use their devices to make purchases, comparison shop and look up prices.
- 6-in-10 Americans say they’d most like to receive gift cards.
- 35.6% of respondents said the most important factor in deciding where to shop are offers for sales and discounts, along with 16.4% who say the most important factor is selection of merchandise and 13.6% who say it’s quality of merchandise. Around 3.4% rate free shipping or shipping promotions as the most important factor, up from 2.9% last year.
Walmart’s omnichannel vision drives its small format growth
BENTONVILLE, Ark. — Walmart will be opening more small stores next year and beyond as the company pursues a vision of omnichannel retailing that it contends no other company is capable of executing.
Walmart U.S. president and CEO Bill Simon on Tuesday morning shared a message of physical and digital convergence involving an acceleration of smaller format stores and continued advancement of the retailer’s digital capabilities. He suggested multiple times during his presentation that the company has reached an inflection point in terms of building a next generation retail enterprise.
According to Simon, Walmart’s capital budget for domestic purposes next year will range between $5.8 billion and $6.3 billion, resulting in the addition of between 235 and 265 stores — including between 120 and 150 small format stores, versus 115 this year — encompassing between 19 million and 21 million sq. ft.
If Walmart finds itself at the upper end of that range of possibilities this time next year it will be a modest increase in domestic expansion at a potentially lower cost as Simon said Walmart has reduced store opening costs by 15%.
During the current fiscal year, which ends in late January, Walmart said it will spend between $6 billion and $6.5 billion to open a total of 245 stores encompassing 18 million sq. ft., above the company’s earlier forecast which called for spending of $5.5 billion and $6 billion 220 to 240 units and 15 million to 17 million sq. ft.
The expanding base of small stores coupled with more than 3,000 supercenters give Walmart multiple points of access to offer shoppers a highly integrated experience that no other retailer can touch, according to Simon.
Sears Holdings event to highlight efforts to help veterans transition to civilian workforce
HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill. – Sears Holdings Corp. is honoring members of the armed forces with an inaugural "Invite a Veteran to Work Day" at its headquarters and nearly 2,000 stores next month.
The event will take place on Nov. 6 at the retailer’s Hoffman Estates, Ill., headquarters and at 1,800 Sears and Kmart stores across the country. At each event, the company will honor the veterans; provide a rare, behind-the-scenes look at the company’s operations; and share how they can transition into the civilian workforce and prepare themselves for a career with the company.
"We recognize the key role the veteran community plays in the workforce as evidenced by our 30,000 veteran associates, many of whom are still serving in the National Guard and the Reserve forces," Sears Holdings VP talent acquisition and diversity Sherry Nolan-Schultz said. "We invite all veterans to join us on this unique day to learn more about our company, career opportunities and workforce re-entry strategies."