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NRF continues to raise holiday prices and tackle COVID-19, Crime – WWD

Despite a drop in shoppers from Thanksgiving to Cyber ​​Monday, the National Federation of Retailers said visitor arrivals were larger than expected and maintained its holiday forecast for an increase from 8 .5 to 10.5% of sales.

But amid continued holiday optimism, fears of increased COVID-19 cases, Omicron different

and robberies crept into the conversation. The pandemic and increased crime could negatively impact holiday shopping and employment.

“Retailers continue to make the health and safety of their teams, employees and shoppers their highest priority. That will continue to be the case. The protocols will remain in effect,” said Matthew Shay, NRFof the president and chief executive officer, in a press conference on the holiday so far.

“We don’t have any data on whether this could affect retail activity. Obviously it’s too early to know how this variant works,” Shay told WWD. “For now, based on all that we are seeing and hearing, there is no need to panic. We are in a much better place than we were a year ago. Eighty percent of Americans have at least one shot. 70 percent are fully vaccinated. We remain confident that there is a very positive trajectory in the economy and retail in general throughout the season. “

Matthew Shay

Matthew Shay
Jenna Bascom Photography

Shay said Pfizer President and CEO Albert Bourla has publicly expressed “a degree of confidence” that the Omicron variant could respond to a vaccine. On Monday, Bourla said he expects the vaccine to have some level of protection, either very high or low – and that will take a couple of weeks to find out.

“We know that when variations have a real impact on the economy, it’s the commodity side of the economy that really benefits,” said Shay. “Everybody leave [spending on] experience,” leaving more dollars to spend on goods. “We continue to believe that the retail industry is prepared to deal with anything that can happen. It is important to listen to the President [Joe] Biden’s remarks on Monday that the United States would not return to lockdowns and closures and restrictive behaviors. We can’t keep throwing money at challenges,” Shay added, referring to government grants to businesses and individuals impacted by COVID-19.

In the past week, there have been “terrible” robberies in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago and several other cities. “We all found this extremely challenging,” Shay told WWD in response to a question. He said a group NRF Members have been convened on the matter and there are hundreds of people joining the calls. Shay said more resources and coordination among federal, state and local governments are needed to confront and prevent future vandalism, as well as for the Justice Department and law enforcement to Federal law is more involved. Shay said the NRF has proposed “a range of solutions. We continue to be a top priority. You’ll see we take a much more positive stance on this in the future. “

While there are concerns that COVID-19 cases could affect consumer sentiment and willingness to go out and shop in stores, consumer sentiment is currently “positive”. , according to Shay.

He said the NRF, defines the holiday as November 1 to December 31, sticking to forecasts that sales will grow from 8.5% to 10.5% in 2020 to $843.4 billion to $859 billion USD.

Some retail professionals are different.

Customer Growth Partners forecasts 6.7% growth, while veteran retail analyst Walter Loeb forecasts holiday sales growth of no more than 7%.

Hemant Kalbag, chief operating officer at Alvarez & Marsal, told WWD, “Demand is easily up 8 to 10%, but I’m not confident that will translate into 8 to 10% retail sales. The challenge is twofold. The impact of supply chain delays on product availability is not yet known as we approach the second half of December. It is likely that most retailers will be short of stock in the second half of December for items their most popular item”. Retailers are managing expectations, says Kalbag, and expects customers to show patience with longer delivery times and opt for second options in size and style.

“There is a huge amount of anxiety and fear about what this new variation could mean for the reopening of the economy, which is already on the right track,” Kalbag added. If this variant spreads through the US, “it will reopen the economy and society in a matter of months. The impact will most likely not be felt for a few months, after the holiday season, which is good for retailers. But it’s too early to say what this variation will mean for the US and global economies. The long-term impact on the supply chain is still unknown. The industry is counting on some supply chain bottlenecks to ease in 2022.”

“I’m at 6 to 7%, nothing more,” said veteran retail analyst Walter Loeb, referring to holiday sales. . Loeb said outbreaks of COVID-19 and the discovery of the widespread Omicron variant could spur people to buy more over the internet. In general, he thinks shoppers should be able to buy what they want or something like that.

During the press conference, Shay said the supply chain issue “will not affect the holiday season in a way that affects our ability to enjoy the holiday with family and friends. Nearly 70% of consumers believe that the gifts and items they need and want they will find. Retailers will fill their needs with a second or third choice, if they don’t have a first choice. “

Nearly 180 million Americans shopped during the five-day holiday shopping period from Thanksgiving Day to Cyber ​​Monday, according to an annual survey conducted by the National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights & Analytics announced on Tuesday. The survey of 5,759 adult consumers was conducted between November 24 and 29 and had a margin of error of plus or minus 1.3 percentage points.

“Retailers have adapted and enticed customers with a number of deals throughout November. The Thanksgiving weekend remains an important time for friends and family to check out specific items during the period. off their list,” Shay said in a statement. “Over the past few years, consumers have shifted their holiday shopping plans to start earlier in the season.”

In total, 179.8 million unique shoppers made in-store and online purchases during the holiday weekend, surpassing NRFInitial expectations of more than 21 million. This compares with 186.4 million shoppers in 2020 and is in line with the four-year average, the NRF said.

Retailers have seen an increase in traffic, with about 104.9 million shoppers visiting stores, up from 92.3 million in 2020. Total online shoppers fell. down to a total of 127.8 million from 145.4 million last year.

Black Friday remains the most popular day for in-store shopping, with 66.5 million shoppers, followed by 51 million Small Business Saturday shoppers, with 71% of Saturday shoppers. Seven said they shop specifically to support small businesses. Similar to recent years, Black Friday has surpassed Cyber ​​Monday in terms of total online shoppers, with 88 million people shopping online on Friday, compared with 77 million on Monday.

“Over the past few years, Black Friday has emerged as a power day for both in-store and online shopping,” said Prosper VP of strategy, Phil Rist. “Although many consumers are starting to shop during the pre-Thanksgiving holiday, a significant portion of their purchases are still made over the course of the five-day weekend.”

Thanksgiving weekend shoppers spent an average of $301.27 on holiday-related items like gifts, decorations, clothing, and toys. This is down slightly from $311.75 in 2020. As in previous years, $215.40 of that was spent directly on gifts.

The most bought gifts on the weekend include clothes and accessories, bought by 51% of those surveyed; toys, 32 percent; gift cards/certificates, 28 percent; books/music/movies/video games, 27 percent and electronics, 24 percent.

Eighty-four percent of holiday shoppers said they had already started shopping and completed an average of 52 percent of their holiday shopping.

Based on NRFIn the annual survey released in October, consumers plan to spend $997.73 on gifts, holiday items, and other non-gift purchases this year.

Source link NRF continues to raise holiday prices and tackle COVID-19, Crime – WWD

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