Industry Updates

January 9, 2024
Report: Merchandise Returns Reach 14.5 Percent in 2023 
Retailers have been focused on efforts to mitigate returns, as total returns for the industry amounted to $743 billion in merchandise in 2023, according to a report released by the National Retail Federation and Appriss Retail*. As a percentage of sales, the total return rate for 2023 was 14.5 percent. According to the report, for every $1 billion in sales, the average retailer reportedly incurs $145 million in merchandise returns. The report noted that online sales do see a higher return rate, with 17.6 percent, or $247 billion, of merchandise purchased online returned. That compares with 10.02 percent, or $371 billion, for pure brick-and-mortar returns, excluding online orders that are returned in-store. | More Information 

Report: U.S. Holiday Season Retail Sales at Low End of Forecast
U.S. retail sales, excluding automotive, increased 3.1 percent year-over-year (YoY) this holiday season, according to a report from Mastercard SpendingPulse* measuring the period from November 1 through December 24. The results came at the low end of the National Retail Federation’s forecast growth in the 3 percent to 4 percent range and fell a bit short of Mastercard’s forecast calling for a 3.4 percent increase. The results fell short of last year’s 7.6 percent gain and were roughly in line with inflation this year, suggesting flattish unit sales. | More Information  

Industry Updates

November 17, 2023

2023 Holiday to Reach Record Spending Levels 
The National Retail Federation today forecast that holiday spending is expected to reach record levels during November and December and will grow between 3% and 4% over 2022 to between $957.3 billion and $966.6 billion. Despite a slower growth rate compared with the past three years, when trillions of dollars of stimulus led to unprecedented rates of retail spending during the pandemic, this year’s holiday spending is consistent with the average annual holiday increase of 3.6% from 2010 to 2019. | More Information 

NRF Economist Says 2023 Holiday Sales Will Have a ‘Whole New Set of Dynamics’
Every retail holiday season since the pandemic has been unique, and that will be the case again this year, National Retail Federation Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz said. “This year, a whole new set of dynamics is in place,” Kleinhenz said. “The average household remains on relatively solid financial footing despite pressures from still-high inflation, stringent credit conditions and elevated interest rates. Recent revisions to government data indicate that consumers haven’t drawn down as much of their pandemic savings as believed earlier, and savings are still providing a buffer to support spending. The overall story for this holiday season is that it looks very good.” | More Information 

Industry Updates

November 6, 2023
Hunters Celebrate More Than 25 Percent Surge Over Past Five Years
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) announced the results of their latest U.S. Hunting and Fishing Participation survey and it shows that some of the positive trends the firearm industry saw over the past few years have taken hold and have likely become more enduring than previously thought. The new data is noteworthy not just because of the direct impacts it represents in terms of supporting jobs and local communities, but also for the substantial funding that goes back to state conservation and wildlife management efforts. | More Information 

Consumers to Spend Nearly $900 to Celebrate the Winter Holidays
Those celebrating the winter holidays expect to spend $875 on average on gifts, decorations, food and other key seasonal items, according to the National Retail Federation’s latest consumer survey conducted by Prosper Insights & Analytics. The amount is $42 more than consumers planned to spend in 2022 and is in line with the average holiday budget over the last five years. | More Information 

Deloitte: Concerned Consumers Still Expect
Higher 2023 Holiday Spend

A survey from business services firm Deloitte indicates that consumers will spend more in this year’s holiday season than they did in any since the COVID-19 pandemic. The gain in expected holiday spend to $1,652 each represents a compound annual growth rate of just 2.5%, Deloitte pointed out, but a 14% year-over-year increase. In a somewhat merrier holiday mood, 95% of survey respondents said they plan to celebrate, up from 92% in 2022 and 88% in 2021, reflecting a return to pre-pandemic levels. | More Information 

Industry Updates

October 19, 2023

Import Cargo Slowing Along with Spending Growth 
Import cargo volume at the nation’s major container ports has already hit its expected peak for the year and should gradually slow headed into the holiday season, according to the Global Port Tracker report released by the National Retail Federation and Hackett Associates. With consumers worried over the impact of inflation and high interest rates – particularly for groceries, automobiles and mortgages – discretionary spending growth is slowing, and retail cargo imports are expected to decline, Hackett Associates Founder Ben Hackett said. Consumer spending grew 1.8% year over year in the second quarter rather than the 2.3% originally estimated, and NRF said last month that retail sales for the year could come in at the low end of its forecast of 4%-6% year-over-year growth. | More Information 

Retail Sales Grew in September, But Core Year-Over-Year Gains Are Slowing 
Retail sales continued to grow in September even as consumers faced continuing economic pressures, the National Retail Federation said. “September retail sales show that consumers have retained the ability and willingness to spend despite accumulating economic headwinds from higher interest rates and slowing growth,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said. “As we gear up for the holiday season, we expect moderate growth to continue as consumers focus on value and household priorities. Retailers have been hard at work getting holiday inventories in place to provide consumers with great products, competitive prices and convenience at every opportunity.” | More Information 

Vista Outdoor to Sell Ammo Business to Czechoslovak Group
Vista Outdoor Inc. signed a definitive agreement to sell its Sporting Products ammunition business to Czechoslovak Group a.s. (CSG) for an enterprise value of $1.91 billion in an all-cash transaction subject to customary closing conditions. This transaction represents the next step in Vista Outdoor’s plan to split the company into separate entities, which was previously announced on May 5, 2022. CSG, based in Prague, is a leading industrial technology holding company, operating within five strategic business segments, including defense, aerospace, ammunition, mobility and business. CSG is 100 percent owned and led by Michal Strnad, who has transformed it into a leading Czech industrial group with a strong international footprint. CSG employs more than 10,000 people worldwide and it owns and manages a diverse portfolio of industrial and trade companies across the defense and civil sectors. | More Information 

Industry Updates

October 12, 2023

Survey Finds 92 Percent of Consumers Cut Spending This Year; Apparel Tops Cuts  
A recent CNBC-Morning Consult survey found that 92 percent of U.S. adults reduced their spending over the past six months, and the majority expect to remain frugal through the 2023 holiday shopping season. The CNBC survey of 4,403 U.S. adults fielded between Tuesday and Thursday of this week found the most common categories for spending reductions over the past six months were apparel (63 percent), restaurants and bars (62 percent) and entertainment outside the home (56 percent), a similar pattern CNBC saw in its June survey. The following most significant categories for cuts were groceries (54 percent), recreational travel and vacations (53 percent) and electronics (50 percent). | More Information 

Retail Crime Accounted for Over $112 Billion in Industry Losses in 2022, According to  NRF Report
As incidents of retail crime continue to escalate throughout the country, retailers have seen a dramatic jump in financial losses associated with theft. When taken as a percentage of total retail sales in 2022, shrink accounted for $112.1 billion in losses, up from $93.9 billion* in 2021, according to the 2023 National Retail Security Survey released by the National Retail Federation. | More Information

SHOT Show Climbs to No. 8 on List of Largest Trade Shows
NSSF’s SHOT Show® is now the eighth largest trade show in America, according to Trade Show Executive’s just-released Gold 100 rankings. The rankings were based on trade shows held throughout the United States in 2022 and measured by net square feet. Owned and operated by NSSF® — The Firearm Industry Trade Association — the SHOT Show is the annual trade show of the shooting, hunting, outdoor and law enforcement industries. After having to cancel its 2021 show due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2022 SHOT Show featured the event’s largest floorplan ever with 804,000 net square feet of exhibit space—up from 676,000 net square feet in 2020. | More Information

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