The selling period between Thanksgiving and Christmas is critical for retail – and 2016 holiday sales did not disappoint. According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), spending between November and December rose 4% to $658.3 billion, beating the projected 3.6% increase. Nonstore sales (e-commerce) rose an impressive 13%. Unsurprisingly, Amazon accounted for the lion’s share of this growth at 38% of total online revenue (next in line was Best Buy with a 4% share).
And yet, retail news has been pretty bleak lately – filled with grumblings from some prominent players. In the past couple weeks, major retailers have reported holiday performance figures that drastically swerved from the overall retail trend, causing significant drops in share prices: Nordstrom -9%, Macy’s -14%, and Kohls -19%. Macy’s reported a 2.1% decline in holiday sales, coupled with the announcement of 68 store closures and the elimination of 10,000 jobs. Sears experienced a more precipitous sales drop of 12-13%. They’ll be closing 150 unprofitable stores this year. JC Penney also reported a decrease in holiday same store sales (-0.8%). Nordstrom, which has historically been the strongest of the bunch, has repeatedly missed sales targets and even reported that traffic levels in stores are at their worst levels since 1972.
So, while overall retail sales grew, it appears that not a single department store shared these results. Continue reading