Overall retail sales had grown by 3.1% in 2013′s holiday season (November and December 2013), and net apparel and accessories sales had increased by 2.3%. For 2014, analytics firm Retail Next has estimated overall retail sales to have grown 3.5% to 4% during November and December. Since apparel market growth was 80 basis points slower than overall retail sales growth in the 2013 holiday season, we assume that apparel sales would have lagged overall industry growth by 50 basis points during 2014 holidays, given that growth was strong in November.
In another sign of disappointing Christmas sales for brick-and-mortar retailers, RetailNext said foot traffic dropped 8.3 percent during November and December versus a year ago at the specialty stores and large retailers it tracks. However, customers who did visit stores spent slightly more on average than a year earlier. “The online promotions that came out early in November really took a lot out of the brick-and-mortar business as they captured the shopper very early this year,” said Shelley Kohan, vice president of retail consulting at RetailNext.
On-line shopping was big this year. According to comScore, reported holiday season commerce from desktop computers hit $48.3 billion in November and December, a 15 percent increase over last year, with the most recent week showing an 18 percent growth in the last full week before Christmas. Shelley Kohan, vice president of retail consulting for the RetailNext, said weather, convenience, and changing shopping trends have led shoppers to the web. “As a result, there are fewer visits to stores,” Kohan said. “However, when those shoppers do get to their favorite retail stores, they are spending more.”
Analytics firm RetailNext, which tracks specialty stores and large footprint retailers, said sales dropped 8.9 percent over the weekend versus a year ago, and store traffic dipped 10.2 percent. However, customers who did hit the stores spent more. Specialty stores in the United States include chains like Best Buy Co Inc <bby.n> and large footprint retailers include Wal-Mart Stores Inc <wmt.n> and Target.
“Even with this drop in growth, Super Saturday was still better compared to Black Friday,” said Shelley Kohan, vice president of retail consulting at RetailNext. “It generated a tad more in terms of sales on slightly less traffic.”
Shelley Kohan, vice president of retail consulting for analytics firm RetailNext, said one way retailers can capitalize on post-Christmas shoppers is by previewing their spring and resortwear lines next to their sale merchandise (resortwear is typically made up of swimsuits and warm-weather apparel meant for after-holiday traveling). That way, they aren’t just getting rid of extraneous merchandise at deep markdowns, but they’re also sparking interest in their full-price offerings.
The retail times they are a’changing, according to Shelley E. Kohan, VP of Retail Consulting at RetailNext. But, that didn’t necessarily spell doom for the brick and mortar merchant. Kohan and RetailNext have observed a couple of other things in November that may offer a silver lining for those retailers who ended up with customers in their aisles.
Retail is one industry where Sarracino sees IoT technology having an impact today. His company recently invested in a software vendor called RetailNext Inc., which applies analytics to data from security cameras and Wi-Fi beacons to help retailers understand how customers are interacting with in-store displays.
Thanksgiving retail and promotions well before Black Friday contributed to decreased traffic and sales, according to both reports. But RetailNext also says that mobile and web sales contributed to falling brick-and-mortar traffic throughout November.
RetailNext VP retail consulting Shelley Kohan suggested that overall shopping trends have led shoppers to the web, so when they get to the store they spend less time there but spend more. However, she didn’t explain the 11 percent sales drop.
According to data from in-store analytics provider RetailNext, sales during the period fell 10.7% compared to the same five days in 2013, while traffic dropped 12.4%.
Not all news was bad. The conversion rate during the weekend rose 0.4 percentage points and average item price climbed 0.5%. The number of items per transaction increased 5.7%, although average item price declined 2.7%.
In addition, shopping trips during November decreased 11.1% compared to the same month a year earlier, while sales fell 10.5%.