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Restaurants should have happy holiday sales

Restaurants should have happy holiday sales

As businesses gear up for the holiday spending season, restaurant sales for the next few months are looking up.

Although most restaurants typically don’t generate a disproportionate percentage of annual sales during the fourth-quarter holiday season — typically around 27 percent of full year sales, according to analysts at Barclays Capital — this year chains across all segments are expecting to see a boost in sales.

High-end steakhouse brands Morton’s The Steakhouse and Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse, two chains that do count on holiday bookings, both expect to capitalize, without raising prices, on higher holiday spending among consumers. The outlook from those two public companies bodes well for the fine-dining segment as a whole. Outside of private party bookings, casual-dining and quick-service brands plan to use a broader mix of gift cards and menu and price promotions to lure in holiday diners.

According to a report from RBC Capital Markets securities analyst Larry Miller, consumers’ restaurant spending plans over the next 90 days jumped 700 basis points, or 7 percent, in November. It was the largest increase in expectation to spend in over a year. The results were drawn from 2,691 responses from surveyed consumers.

“We don’t want to get too excited about the November gain as it likely has some level of seasonality with the holidays ahead and is 700 [basis points] below last year’s level,” Miller said. “That said, it’s still encouraging to see our consumer spending index back to levels seen before the U.S. credit downgrade and subsequent European turmoil.”

As a whole, the retail segment’s same-store sales are expected to increase 3 percent this holiday season, with restaurants expected to see the highest increase among consumer sectors, with growth around 4 percent, according to analysts at Barclays Capital. The investment bank held a holiday sales roundtable in New York last week, which Nation’s Restaurant News attended.

Barclays attributes this retail-wide positive forecast for the holiday season to three key factors: an improving back-to-school season, which typically has a direct correlation to the holiday spending environment; an extra shopping day between Thanksgiving and Christmas; and an unemployment rate that has dropped slightly to 9 percent. In addition, marginal relief in oil prices in recent weeks could help.

As far as restaurants are concerned, in the fourth quarter, all sub-segments of the industry — quick service, casual dining and what Barclays calls specialty — are expected to post increased same-store sales for the first time in four years, said Jeffery Bernstein, Barclays Capital’s director and senior research analyst following the restaurant industry. It’s a trend that Bernstein projects will carry over into the first quarter of 2012.

Of the restaurant companies that Bernstein tracks — Buffalo Wild Wings, The Cheesecake Factory, Chipotle, Domino’s, Darden, Brinker, Jack in the Box, McDonald’s, P.F. Chang’s, Panera, Starbucks, Sonic, Texas Roadhouse, Wendy’s and Yum! Brands — Chipotle is expected to report the largest same-store sales increase in the 2011 fourth quarter with a 10.5-percent jump, while P.F. Chang’s is expected to struggle the most with a projected 2.4-percent drop.

On average, fast-casual restaurant same-store sales are projected to increase 7.6 percent in the fourth quarter and quick-service 4.3 percent, while casual-dining restaurants are projected to report a modest 1.5-percent uptick.

“Casual dining is overcrowded with more supply than demand,” Bernstein said. “Fast casual is stealing market share, and unless we see significant closures, [casual-dining] won’t be a leading segment.”

However, Bernstein did note that a recent stabilization of sales trends in the segments indicates a more resilient, higher-income consumer.

Contact Charlie Duerr at [email protected]


Opinion: 9 reasons retailers will have a happy holiday

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We’re two weeks away from Black Friday, and the holiday sales season is already kicking into high gear. For better or worse, it’s time to horserace just how strong spending will be in 2017.

Last year, investors saw very strong holiday numbers. According to last year’s Retail Spending Monitor by payments processor Visa V, +0.89% , “retail sales less autos, gas and restaurants grew by 4.8% through the holiday season” for the strongest pace in five years.

And with most big-picture numbers looking even better than they did in 2016, initial indications are that holiday sales this year will be very good.

Of course, strong consumer sales in November and December don’t mean every stock will prosper equally — particularly in the retail sector. While the S&P 500 is up over 15% year-to-date in 2017, department store J.C. Penney US:JCP is down 60%, even with Friday’s surge, and Macy’s M, -2.07% is off more than 40%.

Moreover, early forecasts can easily be proven wrong. For instance, many analysts had forecast a gloomy holiday season overall after a slow start over Thanksgiving weekend, but ultimately sales through Christmas wound up being quite strong. So take all the predictions with a grain of salt — including this one.

That said, most experts are pointing to a very good holiday shopping season. And here are nine reasons why:

Early predictions are strong: It’s a truism that holiday sales begin earlier each year, but it’s also true that horseracing holiday sales has moved earlier than ever. One of the first, a late-September report from Deloitte, pegs holiday sales growth at 4.5%, up nicely from the 3.6% growth we saw for sales in both 2016 and 2015. Seasonally adjusted, the November-through-January season could top $1 trillion for the first time. The National Retail Federation is a bit more muted, but also optimistic with a prediction of 3.6% to 4.0% growth this season.

Average spend looking up: Those predictions of strong sales are built in part on self-reported information from consumers about their holiday budgets. An annual survey by Prosper Insights & Analytics found shoppers expect to spend an average of $967.13 this year, up 3.4% from 2016’s survey.

Consumers are confident: All across 2017, American consumers have had a lot of spring in their steps. Data at the end of October affirmed this yet again with the highest Conference Board rating of consumer confidence in roughly 17 years. This is categorically a good thing as we enter the all-important holiday quarter.

Wealth effect: The housing and stock market continue to post gains, with home prices up against all-time highs and equities continuing their never-ending bull-market run. When the typical American sees their 401(k) moving consistently higher and their home value steadily increasing, it makes them feel wealthier and more secure — prompting discretionary spend they may not dish out in lean times.

Hard consumer metrics also strong: Of course, there have been fears in 2017 that “soft” metrics like consumer confidence and CEO optimism haven’t translated into real economic gains. But hard metrics also look very strong, including personal income that topped expectations in a late-October report and the labor market, where jobless claims just hit a 44-year low.

Black Friday comps will be easy: Last year, the National Retail Federation reported Thanksgiving weekend sales were down 3.5% from 2015 to 2016, despite that very brisk holiday shopping season overall. If we get a strong start to the all-important November-December season, it could add to optimism that consumer names on Wall Street will do quite well over the coming months.

Seasonal hiring is strong: Despite the talk of big trouble for brick-and-mortar retailers, your favorite stores at the mall are planning to hire seasonal workers briskly this holiday season. Staffing firm Challenger Gray & Christmas reported recently that the outlook for 2017 seasonal hiring looks better than last year — an indicator of strong retail traffic expectations. Sure, some retailers are not hiring as many, but Amazon.com Inc. AMZN, +0.60% alone is adding 120,000 seasonal workers to meet holiday demand. Those are still holiday jobs, even if they aren’t at your local mall.

Double-digit e-commerce growth: Speaking of Amazon, Forrester Research has predicted an impressive 12% growth in e-commerce this winter, pushing online holiday spend up to $129 billion thanks to some 196 million web shoppers. Not only is the volume of people spending via the internet up, but Forrester expects an average spend of $689 per shopper — up 8% from last year despite a bevvy of promotional deals and coupons among websites.

Retailers are all in: These fundamentals of spending and consumer confidence are quite strong, but adding fuel to the fire will be a big marketing blitz from retailers who are expecting to cash in. A RetailMeNot survey found that 85% of retailers plan to invest more in their holiday marketing efforts than in 2016, and 79% will begin that marketing push even earlier. That extra spending is a sign of high confidence among retailers, who wouldn’t be deploying that money if they didn’t expect it to pay off.


Opinion: 9 reasons retailers will have a happy holiday

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We’re two weeks away from Black Friday, and the holiday sales season is already kicking into high gear. For better or worse, it’s time to horserace just how strong spending will be in 2017.

Last year, investors saw very strong holiday numbers. According to last year’s Retail Spending Monitor by payments processor Visa V, +0.89% , “retail sales less autos, gas and restaurants grew by 4.8% through the holiday season” for the strongest pace in five years.

And with most big-picture numbers looking even better than they did in 2016, initial indications are that holiday sales this year will be very good.

Of course, strong consumer sales in November and December don’t mean every stock will prosper equally — particularly in the retail sector. While the S&P 500 is up over 15% year-to-date in 2017, department store J.C. Penney US:JCP is down 60%, even with Friday’s surge, and Macy’s M, -2.07% is off more than 40%.

Moreover, early forecasts can easily be proven wrong. For instance, many analysts had forecast a gloomy holiday season overall after a slow start over Thanksgiving weekend, but ultimately sales through Christmas wound up being quite strong. So take all the predictions with a grain of salt — including this one.

That said, most experts are pointing to a very good holiday shopping season. And here are nine reasons why:

Early predictions are strong: It’s a truism that holiday sales begin earlier each year, but it’s also true that horseracing holiday sales has moved earlier than ever. One of the first, a late-September report from Deloitte, pegs holiday sales growth at 4.5%, up nicely from the 3.6% growth we saw for sales in both 2016 and 2015. Seasonally adjusted, the November-through-January season could top $1 trillion for the first time. The National Retail Federation is a bit more muted, but also optimistic with a prediction of 3.6% to 4.0% growth this season.

Average spend looking up: Those predictions of strong sales are built in part on self-reported information from consumers about their holiday budgets. An annual survey by Prosper Insights & Analytics found shoppers expect to spend an average of $967.13 this year, up 3.4% from 2016’s survey.

Consumers are confident: All across 2017, American consumers have had a lot of spring in their steps. Data at the end of October affirmed this yet again with the highest Conference Board rating of consumer confidence in roughly 17 years. This is categorically a good thing as we enter the all-important holiday quarter.

Wealth effect: The housing and stock market continue to post gains, with home prices up against all-time highs and equities continuing their never-ending bull-market run. When the typical American sees their 401(k) moving consistently higher and their home value steadily increasing, it makes them feel wealthier and more secure — prompting discretionary spend they may not dish out in lean times.

Hard consumer metrics also strong: Of course, there have been fears in 2017 that “soft” metrics like consumer confidence and CEO optimism haven’t translated into real economic gains. But hard metrics also look very strong, including personal income that topped expectations in a late-October report and the labor market, where jobless claims just hit a 44-year low.

Black Friday comps will be easy: Last year, the National Retail Federation reported Thanksgiving weekend sales were down 3.5% from 2015 to 2016, despite that very brisk holiday shopping season overall. If we get a strong start to the all-important November-December season, it could add to optimism that consumer names on Wall Street will do quite well over the coming months.

Seasonal hiring is strong: Despite the talk of big trouble for brick-and-mortar retailers, your favorite stores at the mall are planning to hire seasonal workers briskly this holiday season. Staffing firm Challenger Gray & Christmas reported recently that the outlook for 2017 seasonal hiring looks better than last year — an indicator of strong retail traffic expectations. Sure, some retailers are not hiring as many, but Amazon.com Inc. AMZN, +0.60% alone is adding 120,000 seasonal workers to meet holiday demand. Those are still holiday jobs, even if they aren’t at your local mall.

Double-digit e-commerce growth: Speaking of Amazon, Forrester Research has predicted an impressive 12% growth in e-commerce this winter, pushing online holiday spend up to $129 billion thanks to some 196 million web shoppers. Not only is the volume of people spending via the internet up, but Forrester expects an average spend of $689 per shopper — up 8% from last year despite a bevvy of promotional deals and coupons among websites.

Retailers are all in: These fundamentals of spending and consumer confidence are quite strong, but adding fuel to the fire will be a big marketing blitz from retailers who are expecting to cash in. A RetailMeNot survey found that 85% of retailers plan to invest more in their holiday marketing efforts than in 2016, and 79% will begin that marketing push even earlier. That extra spending is a sign of high confidence among retailers, who wouldn’t be deploying that money if they didn’t expect it to pay off.


Opinion: 9 reasons retailers will have a happy holiday

Let’s start shopping.

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We’re two weeks away from Black Friday, and the holiday sales season is already kicking into high gear. For better or worse, it’s time to horserace just how strong spending will be in 2017.

Last year, investors saw very strong holiday numbers. According to last year’s Retail Spending Monitor by payments processor Visa V, +0.89% , “retail sales less autos, gas and restaurants grew by 4.8% through the holiday season” for the strongest pace in five years.

And with most big-picture numbers looking even better than they did in 2016, initial indications are that holiday sales this year will be very good.

Of course, strong consumer sales in November and December don’t mean every stock will prosper equally — particularly in the retail sector. While the S&P 500 is up over 15% year-to-date in 2017, department store J.C. Penney US:JCP is down 60%, even with Friday’s surge, and Macy’s M, -2.07% is off more than 40%.

Moreover, early forecasts can easily be proven wrong. For instance, many analysts had forecast a gloomy holiday season overall after a slow start over Thanksgiving weekend, but ultimately sales through Christmas wound up being quite strong. So take all the predictions with a grain of salt — including this one.

That said, most experts are pointing to a very good holiday shopping season. And here are nine reasons why:

Early predictions are strong: It’s a truism that holiday sales begin earlier each year, but it’s also true that horseracing holiday sales has moved earlier than ever. One of the first, a late-September report from Deloitte, pegs holiday sales growth at 4.5%, up nicely from the 3.6% growth we saw for sales in both 2016 and 2015. Seasonally adjusted, the November-through-January season could top $1 trillion for the first time. The National Retail Federation is a bit more muted, but also optimistic with a prediction of 3.6% to 4.0% growth this season.

Average spend looking up: Those predictions of strong sales are built in part on self-reported information from consumers about their holiday budgets. An annual survey by Prosper Insights & Analytics found shoppers expect to spend an average of $967.13 this year, up 3.4% from 2016’s survey.

Consumers are confident: All across 2017, American consumers have had a lot of spring in their steps. Data at the end of October affirmed this yet again with the highest Conference Board rating of consumer confidence in roughly 17 years. This is categorically a good thing as we enter the all-important holiday quarter.

Wealth effect: The housing and stock market continue to post gains, with home prices up against all-time highs and equities continuing their never-ending bull-market run. When the typical American sees their 401(k) moving consistently higher and their home value steadily increasing, it makes them feel wealthier and more secure — prompting discretionary spend they may not dish out in lean times.

Hard consumer metrics also strong: Of course, there have been fears in 2017 that “soft” metrics like consumer confidence and CEO optimism haven’t translated into real economic gains. But hard metrics also look very strong, including personal income that topped expectations in a late-October report and the labor market, where jobless claims just hit a 44-year low.

Black Friday comps will be easy: Last year, the National Retail Federation reported Thanksgiving weekend sales were down 3.5% from 2015 to 2016, despite that very brisk holiday shopping season overall. If we get a strong start to the all-important November-December season, it could add to optimism that consumer names on Wall Street will do quite well over the coming months.

Seasonal hiring is strong: Despite the talk of big trouble for brick-and-mortar retailers, your favorite stores at the mall are planning to hire seasonal workers briskly this holiday season. Staffing firm Challenger Gray & Christmas reported recently that the outlook for 2017 seasonal hiring looks better than last year — an indicator of strong retail traffic expectations. Sure, some retailers are not hiring as many, but Amazon.com Inc. AMZN, +0.60% alone is adding 120,000 seasonal workers to meet holiday demand. Those are still holiday jobs, even if they aren’t at your local mall.

Double-digit e-commerce growth: Speaking of Amazon, Forrester Research has predicted an impressive 12% growth in e-commerce this winter, pushing online holiday spend up to $129 billion thanks to some 196 million web shoppers. Not only is the volume of people spending via the internet up, but Forrester expects an average spend of $689 per shopper — up 8% from last year despite a bevvy of promotional deals and coupons among websites.

Retailers are all in: These fundamentals of spending and consumer confidence are quite strong, but adding fuel to the fire will be a big marketing blitz from retailers who are expecting to cash in. A RetailMeNot survey found that 85% of retailers plan to invest more in their holiday marketing efforts than in 2016, and 79% will begin that marketing push even earlier. That extra spending is a sign of high confidence among retailers, who wouldn’t be deploying that money if they didn’t expect it to pay off.


Opinion: 9 reasons retailers will have a happy holiday

Let’s start shopping.

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We’re two weeks away from Black Friday, and the holiday sales season is already kicking into high gear. For better or worse, it’s time to horserace just how strong spending will be in 2017.

Last year, investors saw very strong holiday numbers. According to last year’s Retail Spending Monitor by payments processor Visa V, +0.89% , “retail sales less autos, gas and restaurants grew by 4.8% through the holiday season” for the strongest pace in five years.

And with most big-picture numbers looking even better than they did in 2016, initial indications are that holiday sales this year will be very good.

Of course, strong consumer sales in November and December don’t mean every stock will prosper equally — particularly in the retail sector. While the S&P 500 is up over 15% year-to-date in 2017, department store J.C. Penney US:JCP is down 60%, even with Friday’s surge, and Macy’s M, -2.07% is off more than 40%.

Moreover, early forecasts can easily be proven wrong. For instance, many analysts had forecast a gloomy holiday season overall after a slow start over Thanksgiving weekend, but ultimately sales through Christmas wound up being quite strong. So take all the predictions with a grain of salt — including this one.

That said, most experts are pointing to a very good holiday shopping season. And here are nine reasons why:

Early predictions are strong: It’s a truism that holiday sales begin earlier each year, but it’s also true that horseracing holiday sales has moved earlier than ever. One of the first, a late-September report from Deloitte, pegs holiday sales growth at 4.5%, up nicely from the 3.6% growth we saw for sales in both 2016 and 2015. Seasonally adjusted, the November-through-January season could top $1 trillion for the first time. The National Retail Federation is a bit more muted, but also optimistic with a prediction of 3.6% to 4.0% growth this season.

Average spend looking up: Those predictions of strong sales are built in part on self-reported information from consumers about their holiday budgets. An annual survey by Prosper Insights & Analytics found shoppers expect to spend an average of $967.13 this year, up 3.4% from 2016’s survey.

Consumers are confident: All across 2017, American consumers have had a lot of spring in their steps. Data at the end of October affirmed this yet again with the highest Conference Board rating of consumer confidence in roughly 17 years. This is categorically a good thing as we enter the all-important holiday quarter.

Wealth effect: The housing and stock market continue to post gains, with home prices up against all-time highs and equities continuing their never-ending bull-market run. When the typical American sees their 401(k) moving consistently higher and their home value steadily increasing, it makes them feel wealthier and more secure — prompting discretionary spend they may not dish out in lean times.

Hard consumer metrics also strong: Of course, there have been fears in 2017 that “soft” metrics like consumer confidence and CEO optimism haven’t translated into real economic gains. But hard metrics also look very strong, including personal income that topped expectations in a late-October report and the labor market, where jobless claims just hit a 44-year low.

Black Friday comps will be easy: Last year, the National Retail Federation reported Thanksgiving weekend sales were down 3.5% from 2015 to 2016, despite that very brisk holiday shopping season overall. If we get a strong start to the all-important November-December season, it could add to optimism that consumer names on Wall Street will do quite well over the coming months.

Seasonal hiring is strong: Despite the talk of big trouble for brick-and-mortar retailers, your favorite stores at the mall are planning to hire seasonal workers briskly this holiday season. Staffing firm Challenger Gray & Christmas reported recently that the outlook for 2017 seasonal hiring looks better than last year — an indicator of strong retail traffic expectations. Sure, some retailers are not hiring as many, but Amazon.com Inc. AMZN, +0.60% alone is adding 120,000 seasonal workers to meet holiday demand. Those are still holiday jobs, even if they aren’t at your local mall.

Double-digit e-commerce growth: Speaking of Amazon, Forrester Research has predicted an impressive 12% growth in e-commerce this winter, pushing online holiday spend up to $129 billion thanks to some 196 million web shoppers. Not only is the volume of people spending via the internet up, but Forrester expects an average spend of $689 per shopper — up 8% from last year despite a bevvy of promotional deals and coupons among websites.

Retailers are all in: These fundamentals of spending and consumer confidence are quite strong, but adding fuel to the fire will be a big marketing blitz from retailers who are expecting to cash in. A RetailMeNot survey found that 85% of retailers plan to invest more in their holiday marketing efforts than in 2016, and 79% will begin that marketing push even earlier. That extra spending is a sign of high confidence among retailers, who wouldn’t be deploying that money if they didn’t expect it to pay off.


Opinion: 9 reasons retailers will have a happy holiday

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We’re two weeks away from Black Friday, and the holiday sales season is already kicking into high gear. For better or worse, it’s time to horserace just how strong spending will be in 2017.

Last year, investors saw very strong holiday numbers. According to last year’s Retail Spending Monitor by payments processor Visa V, +0.89% , “retail sales less autos, gas and restaurants grew by 4.8% through the holiday season” for the strongest pace in five years.

And with most big-picture numbers looking even better than they did in 2016, initial indications are that holiday sales this year will be very good.

Of course, strong consumer sales in November and December don’t mean every stock will prosper equally — particularly in the retail sector. While the S&P 500 is up over 15% year-to-date in 2017, department store J.C. Penney US:JCP is down 60%, even with Friday’s surge, and Macy’s M, -2.07% is off more than 40%.

Moreover, early forecasts can easily be proven wrong. For instance, many analysts had forecast a gloomy holiday season overall after a slow start over Thanksgiving weekend, but ultimately sales through Christmas wound up being quite strong. So take all the predictions with a grain of salt — including this one.

That said, most experts are pointing to a very good holiday shopping season. And here are nine reasons why:

Early predictions are strong: It’s a truism that holiday sales begin earlier each year, but it’s also true that horseracing holiday sales has moved earlier than ever. One of the first, a late-September report from Deloitte, pegs holiday sales growth at 4.5%, up nicely from the 3.6% growth we saw for sales in both 2016 and 2015. Seasonally adjusted, the November-through-January season could top $1 trillion for the first time. The National Retail Federation is a bit more muted, but also optimistic with a prediction of 3.6% to 4.0% growth this season.

Average spend looking up: Those predictions of strong sales are built in part on self-reported information from consumers about their holiday budgets. An annual survey by Prosper Insights & Analytics found shoppers expect to spend an average of $967.13 this year, up 3.4% from 2016’s survey.

Consumers are confident: All across 2017, American consumers have had a lot of spring in their steps. Data at the end of October affirmed this yet again with the highest Conference Board rating of consumer confidence in roughly 17 years. This is categorically a good thing as we enter the all-important holiday quarter.

Wealth effect: The housing and stock market continue to post gains, with home prices up against all-time highs and equities continuing their never-ending bull-market run. When the typical American sees their 401(k) moving consistently higher and their home value steadily increasing, it makes them feel wealthier and more secure — prompting discretionary spend they may not dish out in lean times.

Hard consumer metrics also strong: Of course, there have been fears in 2017 that “soft” metrics like consumer confidence and CEO optimism haven’t translated into real economic gains. But hard metrics also look very strong, including personal income that topped expectations in a late-October report and the labor market, where jobless claims just hit a 44-year low.

Black Friday comps will be easy: Last year, the National Retail Federation reported Thanksgiving weekend sales were down 3.5% from 2015 to 2016, despite that very brisk holiday shopping season overall. If we get a strong start to the all-important November-December season, it could add to optimism that consumer names on Wall Street will do quite well over the coming months.

Seasonal hiring is strong: Despite the talk of big trouble for brick-and-mortar retailers, your favorite stores at the mall are planning to hire seasonal workers briskly this holiday season. Staffing firm Challenger Gray & Christmas reported recently that the outlook for 2017 seasonal hiring looks better than last year — an indicator of strong retail traffic expectations. Sure, some retailers are not hiring as many, but Amazon.com Inc. AMZN, +0.60% alone is adding 120,000 seasonal workers to meet holiday demand. Those are still holiday jobs, even if they aren’t at your local mall.

Double-digit e-commerce growth: Speaking of Amazon, Forrester Research has predicted an impressive 12% growth in e-commerce this winter, pushing online holiday spend up to $129 billion thanks to some 196 million web shoppers. Not only is the volume of people spending via the internet up, but Forrester expects an average spend of $689 per shopper — up 8% from last year despite a bevvy of promotional deals and coupons among websites.

Retailers are all in: These fundamentals of spending and consumer confidence are quite strong, but adding fuel to the fire will be a big marketing blitz from retailers who are expecting to cash in. A RetailMeNot survey found that 85% of retailers plan to invest more in their holiday marketing efforts than in 2016, and 79% will begin that marketing push even earlier. That extra spending is a sign of high confidence among retailers, who wouldn’t be deploying that money if they didn’t expect it to pay off.


Opinion: 9 reasons retailers will have a happy holiday

Let’s start shopping.

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We’re two weeks away from Black Friday, and the holiday sales season is already kicking into high gear. For better or worse, it’s time to horserace just how strong spending will be in 2017.

Last year, investors saw very strong holiday numbers. According to last year’s Retail Spending Monitor by payments processor Visa V, +0.89% , “retail sales less autos, gas and restaurants grew by 4.8% through the holiday season” for the strongest pace in five years.

And with most big-picture numbers looking even better than they did in 2016, initial indications are that holiday sales this year will be very good.

Of course, strong consumer sales in November and December don’t mean every stock will prosper equally — particularly in the retail sector. While the S&P 500 is up over 15% year-to-date in 2017, department store J.C. Penney US:JCP is down 60%, even with Friday’s surge, and Macy’s M, -2.07% is off more than 40%.

Moreover, early forecasts can easily be proven wrong. For instance, many analysts had forecast a gloomy holiday season overall after a slow start over Thanksgiving weekend, but ultimately sales through Christmas wound up being quite strong. So take all the predictions with a grain of salt — including this one.

That said, most experts are pointing to a very good holiday shopping season. And here are nine reasons why:

Early predictions are strong: It’s a truism that holiday sales begin earlier each year, but it’s also true that horseracing holiday sales has moved earlier than ever. One of the first, a late-September report from Deloitte, pegs holiday sales growth at 4.5%, up nicely from the 3.6% growth we saw for sales in both 2016 and 2015. Seasonally adjusted, the November-through-January season could top $1 trillion for the first time. The National Retail Federation is a bit more muted, but also optimistic with a prediction of 3.6% to 4.0% growth this season.

Average spend looking up: Those predictions of strong sales are built in part on self-reported information from consumers about their holiday budgets. An annual survey by Prosper Insights & Analytics found shoppers expect to spend an average of $967.13 this year, up 3.4% from 2016’s survey.

Consumers are confident: All across 2017, American consumers have had a lot of spring in their steps. Data at the end of October affirmed this yet again with the highest Conference Board rating of consumer confidence in roughly 17 years. This is categorically a good thing as we enter the all-important holiday quarter.

Wealth effect: The housing and stock market continue to post gains, with home prices up against all-time highs and equities continuing their never-ending bull-market run. When the typical American sees their 401(k) moving consistently higher and their home value steadily increasing, it makes them feel wealthier and more secure — prompting discretionary spend they may not dish out in lean times.

Hard consumer metrics also strong: Of course, there have been fears in 2017 that “soft” metrics like consumer confidence and CEO optimism haven’t translated into real economic gains. But hard metrics also look very strong, including personal income that topped expectations in a late-October report and the labor market, where jobless claims just hit a 44-year low.

Black Friday comps will be easy: Last year, the National Retail Federation reported Thanksgiving weekend sales were down 3.5% from 2015 to 2016, despite that very brisk holiday shopping season overall. If we get a strong start to the all-important November-December season, it could add to optimism that consumer names on Wall Street will do quite well over the coming months.

Seasonal hiring is strong: Despite the talk of big trouble for brick-and-mortar retailers, your favorite stores at the mall are planning to hire seasonal workers briskly this holiday season. Staffing firm Challenger Gray & Christmas reported recently that the outlook for 2017 seasonal hiring looks better than last year — an indicator of strong retail traffic expectations. Sure, some retailers are not hiring as many, but Amazon.com Inc. AMZN, +0.60% alone is adding 120,000 seasonal workers to meet holiday demand. Those are still holiday jobs, even if they aren’t at your local mall.

Double-digit e-commerce growth: Speaking of Amazon, Forrester Research has predicted an impressive 12% growth in e-commerce this winter, pushing online holiday spend up to $129 billion thanks to some 196 million web shoppers. Not only is the volume of people spending via the internet up, but Forrester expects an average spend of $689 per shopper — up 8% from last year despite a bevvy of promotional deals and coupons among websites.

Retailers are all in: These fundamentals of spending and consumer confidence are quite strong, but adding fuel to the fire will be a big marketing blitz from retailers who are expecting to cash in. A RetailMeNot survey found that 85% of retailers plan to invest more in their holiday marketing efforts than in 2016, and 79% will begin that marketing push even earlier. That extra spending is a sign of high confidence among retailers, who wouldn’t be deploying that money if they didn’t expect it to pay off.


Opinion: 9 reasons retailers will have a happy holiday

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We’re two weeks away from Black Friday, and the holiday sales season is already kicking into high gear. For better or worse, it’s time to horserace just how strong spending will be in 2017.

Last year, investors saw very strong holiday numbers. According to last year’s Retail Spending Monitor by payments processor Visa V, +0.89% , “retail sales less autos, gas and restaurants grew by 4.8% through the holiday season” for the strongest pace in five years.

And with most big-picture numbers looking even better than they did in 2016, initial indications are that holiday sales this year will be very good.

Of course, strong consumer sales in November and December don’t mean every stock will prosper equally — particularly in the retail sector. While the S&P 500 is up over 15% year-to-date in 2017, department store J.C. Penney US:JCP is down 60%, even with Friday’s surge, and Macy’s M, -2.07% is off more than 40%.

Moreover, early forecasts can easily be proven wrong. For instance, many analysts had forecast a gloomy holiday season overall after a slow start over Thanksgiving weekend, but ultimately sales through Christmas wound up being quite strong. So take all the predictions with a grain of salt — including this one.

That said, most experts are pointing to a very good holiday shopping season. And here are nine reasons why:

Early predictions are strong: It’s a truism that holiday sales begin earlier each year, but it’s also true that horseracing holiday sales has moved earlier than ever. One of the first, a late-September report from Deloitte, pegs holiday sales growth at 4.5%, up nicely from the 3.6% growth we saw for sales in both 2016 and 2015. Seasonally adjusted, the November-through-January season could top $1 trillion for the first time. The National Retail Federation is a bit more muted, but also optimistic with a prediction of 3.6% to 4.0% growth this season.

Average spend looking up: Those predictions of strong sales are built in part on self-reported information from consumers about their holiday budgets. An annual survey by Prosper Insights & Analytics found shoppers expect to spend an average of $967.13 this year, up 3.4% from 2016’s survey.

Consumers are confident: All across 2017, American consumers have had a lot of spring in their steps. Data at the end of October affirmed this yet again with the highest Conference Board rating of consumer confidence in roughly 17 years. This is categorically a good thing as we enter the all-important holiday quarter.

Wealth effect: The housing and stock market continue to post gains, with home prices up against all-time highs and equities continuing their never-ending bull-market run. When the typical American sees their 401(k) moving consistently higher and their home value steadily increasing, it makes them feel wealthier and more secure — prompting discretionary spend they may not dish out in lean times.

Hard consumer metrics also strong: Of course, there have been fears in 2017 that “soft” metrics like consumer confidence and CEO optimism haven’t translated into real economic gains. But hard metrics also look very strong, including personal income that topped expectations in a late-October report and the labor market, where jobless claims just hit a 44-year low.

Black Friday comps will be easy: Last year, the National Retail Federation reported Thanksgiving weekend sales were down 3.5% from 2015 to 2016, despite that very brisk holiday shopping season overall. If we get a strong start to the all-important November-December season, it could add to optimism that consumer names on Wall Street will do quite well over the coming months.

Seasonal hiring is strong: Despite the talk of big trouble for brick-and-mortar retailers, your favorite stores at the mall are planning to hire seasonal workers briskly this holiday season. Staffing firm Challenger Gray & Christmas reported recently that the outlook for 2017 seasonal hiring looks better than last year — an indicator of strong retail traffic expectations. Sure, some retailers are not hiring as many, but Amazon.com Inc. AMZN, +0.60% alone is adding 120,000 seasonal workers to meet holiday demand. Those are still holiday jobs, even if they aren’t at your local mall.

Double-digit e-commerce growth: Speaking of Amazon, Forrester Research has predicted an impressive 12% growth in e-commerce this winter, pushing online holiday spend up to $129 billion thanks to some 196 million web shoppers. Not only is the volume of people spending via the internet up, but Forrester expects an average spend of $689 per shopper — up 8% from last year despite a bevvy of promotional deals and coupons among websites.

Retailers are all in: These fundamentals of spending and consumer confidence are quite strong, but adding fuel to the fire will be a big marketing blitz from retailers who are expecting to cash in. A RetailMeNot survey found that 85% of retailers plan to invest more in their holiday marketing efforts than in 2016, and 79% will begin that marketing push even earlier. That extra spending is a sign of high confidence among retailers, who wouldn’t be deploying that money if they didn’t expect it to pay off.


Opinion: 9 reasons retailers will have a happy holiday

Let’s start shopping.

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Referenced Symbols

We’re two weeks away from Black Friday, and the holiday sales season is already kicking into high gear. For better or worse, it’s time to horserace just how strong spending will be in 2017.

Last year, investors saw very strong holiday numbers. According to last year’s Retail Spending Monitor by payments processor Visa V, +0.89% , “retail sales less autos, gas and restaurants grew by 4.8% through the holiday season” for the strongest pace in five years.

And with most big-picture numbers looking even better than they did in 2016, initial indications are that holiday sales this year will be very good.

Of course, strong consumer sales in November and December don’t mean every stock will prosper equally — particularly in the retail sector. While the S&P 500 is up over 15% year-to-date in 2017, department store J.C. Penney US:JCP is down 60%, even with Friday’s surge, and Macy’s M, -2.07% is off more than 40%.

Moreover, early forecasts can easily be proven wrong. For instance, many analysts had forecast a gloomy holiday season overall after a slow start over Thanksgiving weekend, but ultimately sales through Christmas wound up being quite strong. So take all the predictions with a grain of salt — including this one.

That said, most experts are pointing to a very good holiday shopping season. And here are nine reasons why:

Early predictions are strong: It’s a truism that holiday sales begin earlier each year, but it’s also true that horseracing holiday sales has moved earlier than ever. One of the first, a late-September report from Deloitte, pegs holiday sales growth at 4.5%, up nicely from the 3.6% growth we saw for sales in both 2016 and 2015. Seasonally adjusted, the November-through-January season could top $1 trillion for the first time. The National Retail Federation is a bit more muted, but also optimistic with a prediction of 3.6% to 4.0% growth this season.

Average spend looking up: Those predictions of strong sales are built in part on self-reported information from consumers about their holiday budgets. An annual survey by Prosper Insights & Analytics found shoppers expect to spend an average of $967.13 this year, up 3.4% from 2016’s survey.

Consumers are confident: All across 2017, American consumers have had a lot of spring in their steps. Data at the end of October affirmed this yet again with the highest Conference Board rating of consumer confidence in roughly 17 years. This is categorically a good thing as we enter the all-important holiday quarter.

Wealth effect: The housing and stock market continue to post gains, with home prices up against all-time highs and equities continuing their never-ending bull-market run. When the typical American sees their 401(k) moving consistently higher and their home value steadily increasing, it makes them feel wealthier and more secure — prompting discretionary spend they may not dish out in lean times.

Hard consumer metrics also strong: Of course, there have been fears in 2017 that “soft” metrics like consumer confidence and CEO optimism haven’t translated into real economic gains. But hard metrics also look very strong, including personal income that topped expectations in a late-October report and the labor market, where jobless claims just hit a 44-year low.

Black Friday comps will be easy: Last year, the National Retail Federation reported Thanksgiving weekend sales were down 3.5% from 2015 to 2016, despite that very brisk holiday shopping season overall. If we get a strong start to the all-important November-December season, it could add to optimism that consumer names on Wall Street will do quite well over the coming months.

Seasonal hiring is strong: Despite the talk of big trouble for brick-and-mortar retailers, your favorite stores at the mall are planning to hire seasonal workers briskly this holiday season. Staffing firm Challenger Gray & Christmas reported recently that the outlook for 2017 seasonal hiring looks better than last year — an indicator of strong retail traffic expectations. Sure, some retailers are not hiring as many, but Amazon.com Inc. AMZN, +0.60% alone is adding 120,000 seasonal workers to meet holiday demand. Those are still holiday jobs, even if they aren’t at your local mall.

Double-digit e-commerce growth: Speaking of Amazon, Forrester Research has predicted an impressive 12% growth in e-commerce this winter, pushing online holiday spend up to $129 billion thanks to some 196 million web shoppers. Not only is the volume of people spending via the internet up, but Forrester expects an average spend of $689 per shopper — up 8% from last year despite a bevvy of promotional deals and coupons among websites.

Retailers are all in: These fundamentals of spending and consumer confidence are quite strong, but adding fuel to the fire will be a big marketing blitz from retailers who are expecting to cash in. A RetailMeNot survey found that 85% of retailers plan to invest more in their holiday marketing efforts than in 2016, and 79% will begin that marketing push even earlier. That extra spending is a sign of high confidence among retailers, who wouldn’t be deploying that money if they didn’t expect it to pay off.


Opinion: 9 reasons retailers will have a happy holiday

Let’s start shopping.

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Referenced Symbols

We’re two weeks away from Black Friday, and the holiday sales season is already kicking into high gear. For better or worse, it’s time to horserace just how strong spending will be in 2017.

Last year, investors saw very strong holiday numbers. According to last year’s Retail Spending Monitor by payments processor Visa V, +0.89% , “retail sales less autos, gas and restaurants grew by 4.8% through the holiday season” for the strongest pace in five years.

And with most big-picture numbers looking even better than they did in 2016, initial indications are that holiday sales this year will be very good.

Of course, strong consumer sales in November and December don’t mean every stock will prosper equally — particularly in the retail sector. While the S&P 500 is up over 15% year-to-date in 2017, department store J.C. Penney US:JCP is down 60%, even with Friday’s surge, and Macy’s M, -2.07% is off more than 40%.

Moreover, early forecasts can easily be proven wrong. For instance, many analysts had forecast a gloomy holiday season overall after a slow start over Thanksgiving weekend, but ultimately sales through Christmas wound up being quite strong. So take all the predictions with a grain of salt — including this one.

That said, most experts are pointing to a very good holiday shopping season. And here are nine reasons why:

Early predictions are strong: It’s a truism that holiday sales begin earlier each year, but it’s also true that horseracing holiday sales has moved earlier than ever. One of the first, a late-September report from Deloitte, pegs holiday sales growth at 4.5%, up nicely from the 3.6% growth we saw for sales in both 2016 and 2015. Seasonally adjusted, the November-through-January season could top $1 trillion for the first time. The National Retail Federation is a bit more muted, but also optimistic with a prediction of 3.6% to 4.0% growth this season.

Average spend looking up: Those predictions of strong sales are built in part on self-reported information from consumers about their holiday budgets. An annual survey by Prosper Insights & Analytics found shoppers expect to spend an average of $967.13 this year, up 3.4% from 2016’s survey.

Consumers are confident: All across 2017, American consumers have had a lot of spring in their steps. Data at the end of October affirmed this yet again with the highest Conference Board rating of consumer confidence in roughly 17 years. This is categorically a good thing as we enter the all-important holiday quarter.

Wealth effect: The housing and stock market continue to post gains, with home prices up against all-time highs and equities continuing their never-ending bull-market run. When the typical American sees their 401(k) moving consistently higher and their home value steadily increasing, it makes them feel wealthier and more secure — prompting discretionary spend they may not dish out in lean times.

Hard consumer metrics also strong: Of course, there have been fears in 2017 that “soft” metrics like consumer confidence and CEO optimism haven’t translated into real economic gains. But hard metrics also look very strong, including personal income that topped expectations in a late-October report and the labor market, where jobless claims just hit a 44-year low.

Black Friday comps will be easy: Last year, the National Retail Federation reported Thanksgiving weekend sales were down 3.5% from 2015 to 2016, despite that very brisk holiday shopping season overall. If we get a strong start to the all-important November-December season, it could add to optimism that consumer names on Wall Street will do quite well over the coming months.

Seasonal hiring is strong: Despite the talk of big trouble for brick-and-mortar retailers, your favorite stores at the mall are planning to hire seasonal workers briskly this holiday season. Staffing firm Challenger Gray & Christmas reported recently that the outlook for 2017 seasonal hiring looks better than last year — an indicator of strong retail traffic expectations. Sure, some retailers are not hiring as many, but Amazon.com Inc. AMZN, +0.60% alone is adding 120,000 seasonal workers to meet holiday demand. Those are still holiday jobs, even if they aren’t at your local mall.

Double-digit e-commerce growth: Speaking of Amazon, Forrester Research has predicted an impressive 12% growth in e-commerce this winter, pushing online holiday spend up to $129 billion thanks to some 196 million web shoppers. Not only is the volume of people spending via the internet up, but Forrester expects an average spend of $689 per shopper — up 8% from last year despite a bevvy of promotional deals and coupons among websites.

Retailers are all in: These fundamentals of spending and consumer confidence are quite strong, but adding fuel to the fire will be a big marketing blitz from retailers who are expecting to cash in. A RetailMeNot survey found that 85% of retailers plan to invest more in their holiday marketing efforts than in 2016, and 79% will begin that marketing push even earlier. That extra spending is a sign of high confidence among retailers, who wouldn’t be deploying that money if they didn’t expect it to pay off.


Opinion: 9 reasons retailers will have a happy holiday

Let’s start shopping.

  • Email icon
  • Facebook icon
  • Twitter icon
  • Linkedin icon
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Referenced Symbols

We’re two weeks away from Black Friday, and the holiday sales season is already kicking into high gear. For better or worse, it’s time to horserace just how strong spending will be in 2017.

Last year, investors saw very strong holiday numbers. According to last year’s Retail Spending Monitor by payments processor Visa V, +0.89% , “retail sales less autos, gas and restaurants grew by 4.8% through the holiday season” for the strongest pace in five years.

And with most big-picture numbers looking even better than they did in 2016, initial indications are that holiday sales this year will be very good.

Of course, strong consumer sales in November and December don’t mean every stock will prosper equally — particularly in the retail sector. While the S&P 500 is up over 15% year-to-date in 2017, department store J.C. Penney US:JCP is down 60%, even with Friday’s surge, and Macy’s M, -2.07% is off more than 40%.

Moreover, early forecasts can easily be proven wrong. For instance, many analysts had forecast a gloomy holiday season overall after a slow start over Thanksgiving weekend, but ultimately sales through Christmas wound up being quite strong. So take all the predictions with a grain of salt — including this one.

That said, most experts are pointing to a very good holiday shopping season. And here are nine reasons why:

Early predictions are strong: It’s a truism that holiday sales begin earlier each year, but it’s also true that horseracing holiday sales has moved earlier than ever. One of the first, a late-September report from Deloitte, pegs holiday sales growth at 4.5%, up nicely from the 3.6% growth we saw for sales in both 2016 and 2015. Seasonally adjusted, the November-through-January season could top $1 trillion for the first time. The National Retail Federation is a bit more muted, but also optimistic with a prediction of 3.6% to 4.0% growth this season.

Average spend looking up: Those predictions of strong sales are built in part on self-reported information from consumers about their holiday budgets. An annual survey by Prosper Insights & Analytics found shoppers expect to spend an average of $967.13 this year, up 3.4% from 2016’s survey.

Consumers are confident: All across 2017, American consumers have had a lot of spring in their steps. Data at the end of October affirmed this yet again with the highest Conference Board rating of consumer confidence in roughly 17 years. This is categorically a good thing as we enter the all-important holiday quarter.

Wealth effect: The housing and stock market continue to post gains, with home prices up against all-time highs and equities continuing their never-ending bull-market run. When the typical American sees their 401(k) moving consistently higher and their home value steadily increasing, it makes them feel wealthier and more secure — prompting discretionary spend they may not dish out in lean times.

Hard consumer metrics also strong: Of course, there have been fears in 2017 that “soft” metrics like consumer confidence and CEO optimism haven’t translated into real economic gains. But hard metrics also look very strong, including personal income that topped expectations in a late-October report and the labor market, where jobless claims just hit a 44-year low.

Black Friday comps will be easy: Last year, the National Retail Federation reported Thanksgiving weekend sales were down 3.5% from 2015 to 2016, despite that very brisk holiday shopping season overall. If we get a strong start to the all-important November-December season, it could add to optimism that consumer names on Wall Street will do quite well over the coming months.

Seasonal hiring is strong: Despite the talk of big trouble for brick-and-mortar retailers, your favorite stores at the mall are planning to hire seasonal workers briskly this holiday season. Staffing firm Challenger Gray & Christmas reported recently that the outlook for 2017 seasonal hiring looks better than last year — an indicator of strong retail traffic expectations. Sure, some retailers are not hiring as many, but Amazon.com Inc. AMZN, +0.60% alone is adding 120,000 seasonal workers to meet holiday demand. Those are still holiday jobs, even if they aren’t at your local mall.

Double-digit e-commerce growth: Speaking of Amazon, Forrester Research has predicted an impressive 12% growth in e-commerce this winter, pushing online holiday spend up to $129 billion thanks to some 196 million web shoppers. Not only is the volume of people spending via the internet up, but Forrester expects an average spend of $689 per shopper — up 8% from last year despite a bevvy of promotional deals and coupons among websites.

Retailers are all in: These fundamentals of spending and consumer confidence are quite strong, but adding fuel to the fire will be a big marketing blitz from retailers who are expecting to cash in. A RetailMeNot survey found that 85% of retailers plan to invest more in their holiday marketing efforts than in 2016, and 79% will begin that marketing push even earlier. That extra spending is a sign of high confidence among retailers, who wouldn’t be deploying that money if they didn’t expect it to pay off.


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