HdL HeadLines calls out retail trends affecting the economy and HdL news to provide you with insight and support in your budget preparation and economic planning.

 

Home Depot, Lowe’s Sales Lap Pandemic Highs

While demand in the home improvement category has come down from pandemic highs, the biggest players in the sector continued to post sales gains in the fourth quarter. As consumers invested in their homes around the holidays, The Home Depot reported fourth quarter net sales increased 10.7% year over year to $35.7 billion, while comparable sales increased 8.1%. For Lowe's, while its sales lapped last year's figures, its growth was slower than that at Home Depot. The retailer reported that fourth quarter net sales increased 5% to $21.3 billion, while comps increased 5%.

 

Macy’s and Kohl’s in a Knife Fight with Wall Street

Activist investors are circling Macy's and Kohl's. The department store chains are fighting back. Macy's recently rejected calls from activist investor Jana Partners to spin off its e-commerce operations after completing a board review of the company's entire strategy. Activist investors are also urging changes at Kohl's, including spinning off its e-commerce business or accepting a buyout offer to go private. Kohl's has rebuffed those demands, saying its strategy is "producing results." Wall Street has targeted Macy's and Kohl's because the chains have lagged behind other retailers in recent years.

 

Walmart Tops Quarterly Estimates Amid Rising Food Prices

Walmart reported shoppers turned to its stores for gifts and groceries during the holiday season, pushing company’s quarterly earnings beyond Wall Street’s expectations despite supply chain pressures and rising costs. The retailer said it is focused on value and new ways to make money, especially as tries to woo customers with low prices and attract investors with higher profits during a period of inflation.

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January Retail Sales Surge 3.8% as Consumers Defy Inflation

Fueled by pay gains, solid hiring and enhanced savings, Americans sharply ramped up their spending at retail stores last month in a sign that many consumers remain unfazed by rising inflation. Retail sales jumped 3.8% from December to January, the Commerce Department said, a much bigger increase than economists had expected. Though inflation helped boost that figure, most of January’s gain reflected more purchases, not higher prices.

 

Soaring Used Vehicle Prices Haven’t Cooled Demand Yet, Group 1 Automotive CEO Says

Demand for used cars remains strong even though the price of preowned vehicles has soared throughout the COVID pandemic, Group 1 Automotive CEO Earl Hesterberg told CNBC. Hesterberg said on "The Exchange" that Group 1 has largely been able to raise sticker prices to offset higher acquisition costs because there are customers willing to buy them. It helped the company achieve record profitability in 2021. Despite Group 1's ability to successfully protect its margins, Hesterberg suggested there may be a point at which demand cools.

 

Pandemic-Induced Home Delivery Trends Unlikely to Last 

The surging use of home delivery services in the past two years is unlikely to last as pandemic conditions ease, according to research from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Researchers from Rensselaer’s found that more than 90% of people who use online delivery services such as Instacart, Grubhub, DoorDash, and Amazon are likely to revert back to their original ways of shopping when the threat of the pandemic is gone. The researchers surveyed more than 900 consumers and used computer modeling to determine the extent of increased delivery, product demand, and likely usage trends. 

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