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Wednesday, December 1, 2021

The crowd is expected to return to malls and shops on Thanksgiving weekend

Despite price increases, product shortages, and an early surge in online spending before the holiday officially begins, a large number of Americans are expected to return to stores and shopping centers on Thanksgiving Day and the following days.

Adobe Analytics reported on Wednesday that since early November, American consumers have spent $72.2 billion online. This is nearly 20% higher than the same period in 2020, and accounts for more than one-third of Adobe’s estimated total online spending of US$207 billion in November and December.

Leading chain stores have reported very different results, setting Thanksgiving Thursday to Cyber ​​Monday (the traditional five-day peak of the US retail calendar) as a decisive test of the health of the industry.

Investors are looking for clues about the strength of consumer confidence and the resilience of the supply chain after the strong performance of “large” retailers such as Wal-Mart and Home Depot, and the disappointing performance of electronics and clothing chains including Best Buy and Gap. Support demand.

A survey by the National Retail Federation found that compared with the same period last year, the number of Americans planning to shop this Thanksgiving weekend was slightly higher. For people who shop on Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, retailers have traditionally served a large number of customers, and 64% of people plan to go to a store instead of shopping online.

This is an increase from 51% a year ago, when there was no Covid-19 vaccine and most shoppers were worried about health issues. But it is still lower than the proportion of visits to stores in 2019.

Inventory-to-sales ratio (seasonally adjusted) line chart shows that US retail inventories are well below pre-pandemic levels

Shopping center industry group ICSC, Expected The number of people visiting the shopping center this weekend is twice as many as in the same period in 2020.

Driven by trillions of dollars in support provided by the government to the economy, consumer spending in the United States has skyrocketed. Retail trade volume in October increased by 1.9% month-on-month, which was nearly 15% higher than the level in October 2020.

The elasticity of consumer spending overshadows retailers’ concerns earlier this year that inflationary pricing and continued disruptions in global supply chains will curb demand.

Due to the increase in labor, raw materials and transportation costs passed on by retailers, consumer prices in October rose by 6.2% year-on-year, the fastest increase since 1990. Dollar Tree, a chain store based on the sale of products priced at $1 each, announced this week that it will increase the price of most of its products to $1.25.

Pre-sale monthly sales (billions of dollars) line chart of retail and food service shows accelerating growth in U.S. retail sales

Salesforce reported last week that the beginning of the season discounts for US chains had fallen 16% year-on-year. Adobe found that online discounts for certain categories (including appliances and furniture) are only half of the 2020 holiday.

According to data from the market research organization GlobalData, nearly 59% of American consumers started shopping as early as 2020, and the same proportion expressed concern that the products they wanted might not be available or delayed.

Wal-Mart said last week that its frozen turkey sales in October had more than doubled compared with the same month in 2020 as consumers considered potential shortages. However, the retailer is expected to have “adequate supply.”

Over the past 18 months, US retail inventories have fallen sharply due to port backlogs, truck drivers and shortages of warehouse space, which have complicated store replenishment efforts. As of September, the average retailer’s inventory was approximately 33 days, down from approximately 44 days in September 2019.

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