U.S.: Holiday sales solid but unexciting

3 min

Retail sales for the holiday season are expected to grow by a modest +4% to +5% from 2017. According to the National Retail Federation, that’s not as fast as last year’s +5.3% but better than the five year average of +3.9%. Of course traditional retail will grow more slowly than online sales. Indeed over the Black Friday weekend, ShopperTrak reported that foot traffic in traditional stores fell -1%, the fifth straight decline. Online sales however surged +26.4% to USD12.3bn, and Cyber Monday sales rose +19.3% to USD7.9bn according to Adobe Systems. Consumers are clearly in a positive mood as measured by the Consumer Confidence Index which remains near the highest level in 18 years, despite slipping -2.2 points in November. But all retailers are facing margin pressures as wages rise, tariffs increase costs, and pricing pressures remain relentless.