Retail holiday sales have seen surging in America. Retail holiday had their largest increase this year since 2011, jumping 4.9 percent compared to the same time last year. Online retail was a huge factor in these encouraging statistics.
Online shopping was up 18% from last year. A report issued by Mastercard Spending Pulse concluded that the strong US economy played a big role in the increase, however retailers trying new strategies to engage holiday shoppers was a huge factor. Traditional retail brick and mortar stores benefited most from last second holiday shoppers, Mastercard concluded
Amazon.com was top of the heap and played a big factor in these impressive sales revenues. Amazon received close to 50% of all online retail business this season, according to GBH insights analysist Daniel Ives. Walmart, Target and Best Buy had very strong online numbers as well. Amazon’s key to success was their Prime membership program. Members receive special offers and free shipping for their $99 a year membership. 88 million customers are Prime members.
The hottest retail category this season was electronics and appliances which saw a 7.5% increase, the strongest numbers in ten years. Home Furniture and improvement and Jewelry saw 5-6% increase as well. Mastercard attributes these increases to last minute gift buys. Overall Holidays sales raked in $682 billion, according to the National Retail Federation
Amazon continues to be a solid stock buy, and Ives rates it as a top buy for 2018.
Not all indicators were rosy however as Macy’s stock took a 4% dive the first week of 2018. Macy’s has seen some sales growth but still plan on closing 11 stores this year. Most of their growth was from online sales. Macy’s has closed over 100 stores since 2015 as part of their new strategy. Still Macy’s CEO Jeff Genette stated: ““Macy’s had a solid holiday shopping season, and we are pleased that our November/December performance resulted in positive comp sales for the period, setting us up for a positive fourth quarter.” Kohl’s and Nordstrom also saw stock decreases of 6% and 3% respectively.
Sears continues to be hit the hardest by the changing retail environment. Their stock has fallen more than 60% over the last year and the losses continue to grow. Sears plans on closing another 103 stores this year; 64 of them are Kmart locations. To stay competitive Sears has started to sell their Kenmore and Diehard products on Amazon.com