HoliDAY of Play 2015

NRF and Hackett Associates See Imports Up as Retailers Look Toward Holidays

nrfAccording to the monthly Global Port Tracker report released today by the National Retail Federation (NRF) and Hackett Associates, import cargo volume at the nation’s major retail container ports is expected to increase 3.6 percent this month over the same time last year, as retailers begin to bring in merchandise for the holiday season. Imports for the year are expected to be up 4.2 percent over last year.

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Bill Proposed to Help Avoid Repeat of West Coast Ports Slowdown

nrfThis past Wednesday, the National Retail Federation (NRF) and more than 100 other business groups called for passage of legislation requiring the Department of Transportation (DOT) to track port statistics. The legislation, according to the NRF, could help avoid a repeat of the congestion and slowdowns that occurred along the West Coast during the labor dispute resolved earlier this year.

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Experts Point to Increasing Imports as Retailers Prepare for Back-to-School

nrfImport cargo volume at the nation’s major retail container ports is expected to increase 7.3 percent this month over the same time last year as retailers stock up for the busy back-to-school season, according to the monthly Global Port Tracker report released by the National Retail Federation and Hackett Associates on Wednesday.

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NRF Survey Says Consumers are on the Hunt For Candy, Spring Apparel this Easter

nrfThe average person celebrating Easter this year will spend $140.62, an slight increase from last year’s $137.46, according to the National Retail Foundation’s (NRF) Easter Spending Survey conducted by Proper Insights & Analytics. Total spending is expected to reach $16.4 billion, including purchases of apparel, decorations, gifts, candy, food, and flowers.
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NRF Says Supreme Court Ruling on Swipe Fees Leaves Merchants and Consumers Paying Too Much

nrfOn Tuesday, the National Retail Federation (NRF) expressed disappointment at the U.S. Supreme Court for not reviewing an appellate court ruling on whether the Federal Reserve (Fed) set a 2011 cap on debit card swipe fees higher than the level sought by Congress in legislation passed the year before. [Read more...]

Total Spending, Number of Shoppers Down During Black Friday Weekend

As reported by the National Retail Federation (NRF), roughly 87 million Americans visited stores on Black Friday. However, total spending for the long Thanksgiving weekend is projected to be down more than 10 percent from last year’s estimate.

According to an NRF survey released on Sunday, total spending for the four-day weekend is expected to reach $50.9 billion, a decrease of 11.3 percent from last year’s estimate of $57.4 billion. NRF data also estimates that 133.7 million shoppers will have visited stores this weekend, down 5 percent year-over-year and below the expected number of 140.1 million. The survey also estimates flat growth in online sales.

This data follows strong starts reported by some retailers for the Black Friday weekend. Both Wal-Mart Stores and Target Corp. began offering special Black Friday sales on Thanksgiving Day, beginning at 6 p.m. While neither Wal-Mart nor Target has reported specific sales figures, both claimed a high number of customers that shopped at stores as well as online. [Read more...]

Gift Cards Are Shoppers’ Choice This Holiday Season, Says NRF

nrfThis holiday season, gift card spending is set to top all previous records. According to the National Retail Federation (NRF)’s Gift Card Spending Survey, the average person buying gift cards will spend $172.74, up from $163.16 last year, with total spending expected to reach $31.74 billion. In an October NRF survey, 62 percent of shoppers said they would like to receive a gift card, making gift cards the most requested gift item for eight years in a row.

According to the survey, shoppers will spend more on average per card than they did last year, with total spending on gift cards increasing 83 percent since NRF began tracking consumers’ intentions to buy gift cards as holiday gifts in 2003.

The survey found adults 65 and up will spend the most on gift cards, with young adults between 18 to 24 years old spending the least, and men planning to spend significantly more than women ($180.81 versus $165.09, respectively).

Shoppers noted the ease of buying, the ability to allow recipients to select their own gifts, and sticking to holiday budgets as top reasons for choosing gift cards over traditional gifts. Gift cards for department stores, restaurants, and coffee shops are expected to be top choices this holiday season.

Frozen Continues to Dominate Toy Aisles as More than 3 Million Character Dresses Sold

Disney Consumer Products' VIP Halloween EventMore than 3 million Disney Frozen Elsa and Anna role-play dresses have been sold at Disney Store and mass retailers in North America in less than a year, according to Disney Consumer Products. Elsa and Anna also led costume sales by double digits at all Disney Store locations in North America. In addition, the National Retail Federation’s 2014 Halloween Consumer Top Costumes Survey said that an estimated 2.6 million children planned to dress up as one of Disney’s Frozen characters this Halloween.

Since Frozen’s release last November, Disney Publishing Worldwide and its licensees have published more than 800 Frozen print titles globally and more than 35 e-books in the U.S. The Disney Karaoke: Frozen app has reached the No. 1 spot in the iPad Entertainment Downloads category in more than 100 countries worldwide, and the Disney Frozen: Free Fall app is Disney Interactive’s top-grossing and most downloaded app of the year.

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Retailers Re-Focus Shipping Calendar in Preparation for Surge in Online Shopping, Reports NRF

nrfExpectations are high for a strong omnichannel holiday season, so retailers are preparing their shipping operations to avoid delivery and service hiccups, according to Shop.org, a division of the National Retail Federation (NRF).

Shop.org’s eHoliday survey, conducted by Prosper Insights & Analytics, indicates that nearly eight in 10 retailers surveyed, or roughly 78.8 percent, will set their standard shipping deadlines for guaranteed Christmas delivery to expire at least a week before the big day. This compares to 73.7 percent last holiday season. In addition, approximately 21.2 percent will set their standard shipping deadlines to expire on December 19 or later, compared to 26.3 percent last year.

Of the 92.3 percent of retailers polled that plan to offer free standard shipping of some sort this holiday season, 69.1 percent said their guarantee for Christmas delivery will expire on or before December 19. Nearly three quarters of retailers polled last year, or 74.2 percent, had a deadline on the equivalent day; in this case, December 20. [Read more...]

NRF Offers Optimistic Forecast for Holiday Sales and Hires

The National Retail Federation (NRF) expects sales (excluding auto, gas, and restaurant sales) to increase 4.1 percent to $616.9 billion in November and December, higher than 2013’s 3.1 percent increase during that same time frame. This would mark the first time since 2011 that holiday sales would increase more than 4 percent.

Holiday sales on average have grown 2.9 percent over the past 10 years, including 2014’s estimates, and are expected to represent approximately 19.2 percent of the retail industry’s annual sales of $3.2 trillion.

NRF’s holiday sales forecast is based on an economic model using several indicators including consumer credit, disposable personal income, and previous monthly retail sales releases. It now includes direct-to-consumer, kiosk, and online sales.

Additionally, NRF expects between 725,000 and 800,000 new seasonal employers for the holiday shopping season, potentially more than retailers hired in 2013.

NRF’s shop.org division expects online sales to grow 8 to 11 percent more than last holiday season.

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