Holiday trends to watch: Adult Play-Doh; stores that ship
(AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)NEW YORK – The pandemic is turning this into a holiday shopping season like no other. And with more people shopping online, stores are doing double duty as shipping centers to try to get gifts to doorsteps as fast as possible. Meanwhile, Best Buy says that 340 of its stores are being specially designated to handle a higher volume of online orders, though all its stores ship e-commerce packages. Its goal: to have the 340 stores ship more than 70% of its ship-from-store units during the holiday quarter. Typically, 25% of holiday shopping is based on impulse, according to Marshal Cohen, chief industry advisor at NPD Group, a market research firm.
Weak 0.3% US October sales gain spreads some holiday unease
NEW YORK – Retail sales in the U.S. grew a sluggish 0.3% in October, even as retailers offered early holiday discounts online and in stores. Economists had expected sales to rise 0.5%, already a significant tail off from September's gain of 1.6%. Sales rose at home and garden stores, electronics and appliance stores, and online retailers. Nationwide, spending fell to 7.4% below a year ago, JPMorgan said, a drop of about 2.5 percentage points from two weeks earlier. Yet at clothing stores and sporting good shops, sales fell more than 4%.
Pandemic pushes start of holiday shopping earlier than ever
(AP Photo/David Zalubowski)NEW YORK – Add last-minute holiday shopping to the list of time-honored traditions being upended by the coronavirus pandemic. Black Friday has long been the unofficial start to the U.S. holiday season, though retailers have been pushing holiday shopping earlier for the last decade or so. The first big holiday push will come from Amazon, which is positioning its mid-October Prime Day as a kickoff to the holiday shopping season. Even with the early start to the season, holiday sales are expected to deliver smaller gains than in recent years. Joel Bines, who runs the retail practice at AlixPartners, thinks the earlier shopping will stick even when the pandemic is over.
Walmart latest retailer to require customers to wear masks
Last week, Starbucks announced that customers who visit its company-owned café locations in the U.S. will be required to wear face coverings. Costco Wholesale Club was one of the first major retailers to require face coverings for customers at all of its stores. “I think Walmart's decision will give cover to other retailers to require masks," said Michael J. Hicks, an economist at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana. Social media is full of videos capturing clashes between those who are asked to wear masks, and employees who are under orders to make sure people wear them. About half of U.S. states require masks in public places, according to the RILA.
Best Buy will require customers to wear masks in its stores
(CNN) -- Best Buy said Tuesday that it will require all shoppers coming into its stores to wear face masks. Starbucks said last week that it will require customers to wear facial coverings or masks in all of its 9,000 company-owned US stores beginning Wednesday. Costco began requiring its members to wear masks in stores beginning in May. On Monday, Walmart CEO Doug McMillon told Bloomberg that a mandate requiring customers to wear masks in the company's stores is something "that's on our minds." Right now, Walmart customers must wear a mask before entering one of 3,700 Walmart locations "where either a governor or someone else has mandated it," according to McMillon.
Businesses weigh reopening - or close again - as cases rise
Businesses reopening across states after months of shutdown have been met with fanfare. Its not the reopening businesses were hoping for. Apple, which started reopening its stores May 11, has closed at least 32 stores in hot spots like Florida and Texas. Some businesses have been requiring customers and employees to sign a waiver saying they wont sue if they get sick. Adam Orman, who runs LOca dOro Italian restaurant in Austin, Texas, may delay a planned July 30 reopening for outdoor seating.
US consumer spending up 8.2%, partly erasing record plunge
(AP Photo/Jim Mone)WASHINGTON American consumers increased their spending by a sharp 8.2% in May, partly erasing record plunges the previous two months, against the backdrop of an economy thats likely shrinking by its steepest pace on record this quarter. In May, those stimulus checks were no longer counted as income for most people. Besides whatever unemployment aid states are providing to the 30 million jobless Americans, the federal government is providing $600 a week in additional benefits. Without the stimulus checks or an extension of unemployment aid, it's unclear whether consumers will keep spending freely. It shows that consumers have gradually but consistently increased their spending since the government distributed the stimulus checks in mid-April.
Analysis: In some places in Texas, sales tax revenues have risen during the pandemic
The latest state sales tax distribution to cities based on Aprils taxable sales was down 11.1%. At the same time, the sales tax allocation to San Marcos rose 51% for the same period. Some local governments will be taking bigger hits in sales tax revenue than others, and a few are prospering because of changes in shoppers habits. Round Rock gets the local Dell taxes from online sales even if the buyer is in Fort Stockton. San Marcos gets the Best Buy local taxes even if the buyer is in Corpus Christi.
These big-name stores are reopening in Texas
SAN ANTONIO – Best Buy has started allowing customers into 11 San Antonio stores by appointment only. Burlington stores in San Antonio reopened May 15. There are seven Burlington stores in the area; for more information, click here. Ross will reopen its nearly 20 stores in the San Antonio area on May 20, according to its website. TJ Maxx has reopened its stores in San Antonio, New Braunfels, Austin, Cedar Park, and Georgetown, according to its website.