This months retail headlines cover holiday sales, Amazon's newest delivery service, a record-breaking increase in returns and more.
Americans spent more money over the 2022 holiday season than they did the year before despite higher rates of inflation, a new Mastercard SpendingPulse report shows. The report, published Dec. 26, measured U.S. retail sales — excluding automotive sales — between Nov. 1 and Dec. 24, 2022. It found sales increased 7.6 percent over the same period in 2021. The report measured in-store and online retail sales across all forms of payment and wasn't adjusted for inflation.
Drone-delivery services are expanding. Companies have taken to the air to avoid traffic, speed deliveries and, of course, save money. Amazon Prime Air, the company's drone service, said in July that it would begin operating in Lockeford, Calif., 40 miles southeast of Sacramento, and College Station, Texas, two hours northeast of Austin. And on Dec. 22 the drones took off. "First deliveries from our new sites in Texas and California," David Carbon, vice president of Prime Air at Amazon, said on LinkedIn.
2022 proved that the mall is far from dead. Now 2023 could determine which malls come out on top. “People continue to really want to go out and experience being in an environment to see, touch and try product,” explained Keith Jelinek, a senior managing director at consulting and advisory firm Ankura. To cater to this desired holistic shopping experience, mall owners are broadening their leasing to include different types of tenants that, until recently, have not typically lived in malls. “You go to the malls now and it’s not unusual to see a medical and dental office or co-working spaces or a gym or motor vehicles locations,” Jelinek said.
Following an increase in returns last year, a Salesforce report predicts that consumers will return more than $1.4 billion holiday orders this season, an 57% jump year-over-year. Salesforce noted the uptick in returns could be from consumers who bought gifts earlier this year and returned them to repurchase at a deeper discount. The report said that returns nearly doubled during the week after Cyber Week year-over-year and have been higher since then.
The apparel market has declined over the last several years as etiquette has allowed more casual attire for work and special occasions, and as the U.S. middle class has shrunk. Apparel and footwear have grown relatively slowly compared to other categories since at least 2016, and have lost wallet share “for decades,” UBS analysts said. Department stores and other retailers dependent on clothing sales face a gloomy 2023 and may shutter more locations, according to the analysts.
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