Our HeadLines e-news service provides HdL clients with the most up-to-date information on trends affecting the economy and is meant to provide you with insight and support in your budget preparation and economic planning. 

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NATIONAL

U.S. Retail Sales Grow for 5th Month in a Row 

Retail sales rose strongly in September, the fifth straight month of growth, as Americans spent more on clothing, cars and sporting goods. U.S. retail sales jumped 1.9% last month, the U.S. Commerce Department said. That’s more than double what was economists were expected. And it’s up from the 0.6% increase in August. “Americans raced to the stores in September,” said BMO Capital Markets analyst Sal Guatieri, in a note to investors, adding that they were “buying just about everything in sight, especially clothing.” Read More

 

Pandemic Pushes Start of Holiday Shopping Earlier Than Ever 

Add last-minute holiday shopping to the list of time-honored traditions being upended by the coronavirus pandemic. Retailers are kicking off the holiday season earlier than ever this year in hopes of avoiding big in-store crowds and shipping bottlenecks in November and December.  Stores like Best Buy, Macy’s, and Target typically offer their biggest Black Friday deals over Thanksgiving weekend, but now they’re starting them in October so people don’t crowd their stores later, creating a potentially dangerous situation during a pandemic. Read More

 

Buyers Traveling Across the Country, Paying Record Prices for Used Pickups

For Chuck Schmidt, traveling 1,579 miles and flying across five states to buy a 2017 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 was a no-brainer.  Welcome to the hottest market in the auto business right now. There is so much demand for used vehicles, especially full-size pickup trucks, some buyers are traveling hundreds of miles to get what they want, regardless of the price. Two factors tied to the coronavirus pandemic are driving the trend. Read More

 

U.S. Ecommerce Growth Jumps to More than 30%

US ecommerce sales will reach $794.50 billion this year, up 32.4% year-over-year. That’s a much higher growth rate than the 18.0% predicted in our Q2 forecast, as consumers continue to avoid stores and opt for online shopping amid the pandemic. “We’ve seen ecommerce accelerate in ways that didn’t seem possible last spring, given the extent of the economic crisis,” said Andrew Lipsman, eMarketer principal analyst at Insider Intelligence. Read More

 

Winners on Prime Day 2020?  Non-Amazon Sites

Amazon’s delayed 2020 Prime Day event ran for two days — October 13 and 14 — as it did last year. While it does not release total revenue for Prime Day, Amazon touted in 2019 that Prime Day sales exceeded the prior year’s Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales combined. This year Amazon did not make such a claim. However, an Amazon press release claimed that the marketplace sellers took in more than $3.5 billion during this year’s event, representing a higher year-over-year growth than Amazon’s own products. Read More

 

ALABAMA

New Rule Means Businesses Must Reapply for Tax Licenses Before 2021

New rules at the Alabama Department of Revenue will require businesses with various tax licenses to reapply in November and December or have their current licenses canceled in 2021. “This rule applies to businesses subject to remitting and reporting sales, rental, sellers use, lodgings, utility gross receipts, or simplified sellers use tax and who are required under current law to obtain a corresponding license from the department,” ADOR spokeswoman Amanda Collier said in a statement to Alabama Daily News.  Read More

 

Alabama Revenues Grew Despite COVID Pandemic

Alabama’s strong economy going into the COVID-19 pandemic, and billions in federal aid to address the health and economic crisis, has helped the state’s two largest budget funds to grow this year. According to an analysis by the Public Affairs Research Council of Alabama, tax revenue into the state’s General Fund was 7 percent higher this year than it was in 2019, and Alabama’s Education Trust Fund brought in an additional $209 million in 2020 compared to 2019.  Read More

 

Holiday Shopping Season Has Begun

Alabamians like the rest of the nation have already begun their holiday shopping to ensure they can get the gifts they want and that those gifts arrive on time. Retail analysts and economists agree that this year’s holiday sales will be unchanged over holiday 2019 or grow modestly. Unchanged would be good because spending in Alabama in 2019 during the traditional holiday shopping months of November and December reached an all-time high – $13.25 billion.  Read More

 

CALIFORNIA 

UCLA Anderson Forecast Cautiously Projects 'Better Than Expected Outcome'

Just six months ago, the UCLA Anderson Forecast issued a bleak prognosis for the national economy, anticipating the impact of what was still being called the COVID-19 epidemic. Weeks later, as the epidemic became a pandemic, the forecast released the first interim revision in its 68-year history, declaring that the U.S. had entered a recession for the first time since 2008. In June, the forecast team wrote that the nation’s economy was in a “depression-like” crisis and would not return to its 2019 strength anytime soon. With that negative assessment as prologue, the Anderson Forecast now cautiously offers an economic outlook that includes a “better than expected outcome.” Read More

 

Booming Volume at LA, Long Beach Ports Hints at Holiday Bright Spot

For much of the year, the country’s economic outlook has been grim, with the coronavirus pandemic sweeping through the U.S., taking a major toll on jobs, commerce — and the collective mood. Now, as 2020 prepares to take its final lap, things have brightened a bit, at least for the time being. Cargo is flowing into the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach in record numbers. Retailers are restocking empty shelves and rolling out glittery holiday displays. And consumers appear ready to shop again. Read More

 

GEORGIA

Accounting Error Costs Georgia, Tax Collections Stay Strong

Georgia is taking a one-time $240 million hit to its bank account because accounting software wasn't sending the right share of sales taxes to local governments. The payments were made last month after an audit by the state Department of Revenue, sending state revenue into the red in September. State revenue fell by 3.6% compared to a year ago. Without the payment, it would have risen by a strong 7%.  Read More

 

Shoppers Came Back to Department Stores in September, Lifting Retail Sales

Since the summer, overall retail spending has improved enough to surpass pre-pandemic levels, rebounding from a near-collapse in the spring. Compared to a year ago, sales were up 5.4%. Major stores have already begun their sales season, starting early thanks to Amazon's decision to delay its midyear Prime Day sale to October. For many, the fall deals offer a sort of insurance against that really unpredictable holiday shopping season — as immediate sales to be grabbed now before something else bizarre happens.  Read More

 

TEXAS

Texas Service and Retail Sectors Show Signs of Recovery

Texas service sector activity this month grew at its fastest pace since February, with retailers posting a solid rebound. “Texas retailers noted a surge in sales, with the sales index returning to firmly positive territory after reflecting two months of decreasing sales,” said Christopher Slijk, Dallas Fed associate economist. “Employment indicators picked up, while outlooks and expectations of future activity remained positive.”  Read More

 

Tax-Friendly Texas Poised for Flood of Corporate Relocations in ‘Biggest Year Yet’

Corporate relocations to tax-friendly Texas are on the rise, and one industry expert predicts 2021 could be the state’s biggest year yet. Ed Curtis, founder and CEO of YTEXAS, who is actively involved in economic development in the state, said nearly 200 companies have relocated their headquarters to Texas within the past decade, including 74 between 2018 and before the pandemic in 2020. A large number of those companies were previously stationed in California, according to data compiled by YTEXAS.  Read More

 

Pandemic Helps to Plug ‘Sales Tax Leakage’ as More Folks Shop North of Border

At a time when many Southwest border communities are suffering from a drop in sales tax revenue due to travel restrictions imposed during this COVID-19 pandemic, South Texas is reporting a surprising bump in its sales tax earnings because residents are no longer heading south of the border to shop and are buying locally.  Read More

 

Podcast: Retail Rundown

Dollar General unveils its Popshelf concept, Walmart rolls out its new tech-desk service and Aldi tests a bigger box format. Listen Here

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