Mammoth Shift in Retail Sales, e-Commerce Winning

Mammoth Shift in Retail Sales, e-Commerce Winning

Mammoth Shift in Retail Sales, e-Commerce Winning


Holiday sales at Macy’s Inc. (NYSE:M), Sears Holdings Corp., and J.C. Penney Co.(NYSE:JCP) were anemic and US government data confirmed it Friday.

The nation’s traditional department stores are steadily losing ground to their online rivals, a shift in the retail landscape that shows both the change in Americans’ shopping patterns and where the job growth is taking place.

Sales at all US retailers increased 4.4% in December on an un-adjusted basis from a year earlier, according to US Commerce Department figures released Friday. The breakdown showed purchases at department stores fell 7.2%, marking the 23rd consecutive month of Y-Y declines in the sector.

Standing in contrast are non-store retailers’ sales, which include Internet and catalog purchases. They helped pace the overall advance, with a 10.4% gainer that represents the 6th month of double-digit gains last year.

e-Commerce sales in Q-3 accounted for 8.4% of all retail sales, which include spending on cars to clothing to restaurant meals according to a separate Commerce Department report released in November. That’s the largest share in records back to Y 1999, when they made up just 0.6%.

The government data follow sluggish sales reports from a number of US-based retailers. Meanwhile upscale retailer Neiman Marcus Group last week withdrew its IPO plan to go public amid declining sales.

Shrinking mall traffic as consumers embrace the ease of shopping online is primarily to blame for weak industry wide performance, according to the data.

The shift toward electronic purchases is also evident in the labor market.

While employment at non-discount department stores is down 45% from 2000, the number of e-Commerce jobs has more than 3X’d.

The Labor Department does not break out differences in average hourly earnings between traditional department store and Internet-retail employees. And e-Commerce jobs still comprise very few of the millions of positions across all different kinds of merchants.

Friday, the major US stock market indexes finished at: DJIA -5.27 at 19885.86, NAS Comp +26.63 at 5574.11, S&P 500 +4.20 at 2274.64

Volume: Trade was below average with about 930-M/shares exchanged on the NYSE

  • Russell 2000 +1.1% YTD
  • DJIA +0.6% YTD
  • S&P 500 +1.6% YTD
  • NAS Comp +3.6% YTD
HeffX-LTN Analysis for DIA: Overall Short Intermediate Long
Bullish (0.29) Neutral (-0.07) Bullish (0.37) Very Bullish (0.56)
HeffX-LTN Analysis for SPY: Overall Short Intermediate Long
Bullish (0.29) Neutral (-0.04) Very Bullish (0.54) Bullish (0.35)
HeffX-LTN Analysis for QQQ: Overall Short Intermediate Long
Very Bullish (0.52) Bullish (0.44) Very Bullish (0.59) Very Bullish (0.53)
HeffX-LTN Analysis for VXX: Overall Short Intermediate Long
Very Bearish (-0.55) Very Bearish (-0.51) Very Bearish (-0.74) Bearish (-0.39)

Have a terrific weekend.

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Paul Ebeling

Paul A. Ebeling, polymath, excels in diverse fields of knowledge. Pattern Recognition Analyst in Equities, Commodities and Foreign Exchange and author of “The Red Roadmaster’s Technical Report” on the US Major Market Indices™, a highly regarded, weekly financial market letter, he is also a philosopher, issuing insights on a wide range of subjects to a following of over 250,000 cohorts. An international audience of opinion makers, business leaders, and global organizations recognizes Ebeling as an expert.

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