Inflation-Wary Shoppers Pull Back as Goods Pile Up in Stores
She works in the portrait department of a JCPenney at the Newport Centre mall in New Jersey.
“It’s looking more that people this year will be receiving homemade things,” Snair said as she filled out appointment sheets.
“Do I even have the extra money to get stuff for people?” The National Retail Federation had predicted a sales increase of 6% to 8% this holiday season but has seen lower-income consumers pull back.
That’s becoming evident in recent earnings reports from even some of the more resilient retailers, including Target Corp., which last month said third-quarter ...
...sales of discretionary items such as toys lagged and that it’s expecting a decline in fourth-quarter comparable-store sales as shoppers trim spending.
Still, problems with inventory show signs of easing.
“As the financial health of the US consumer weakens and shoppers become increasingly more price sensitive, excess inventory will remain a risk to sales and profitability,” he said.
Certain consumer categories will feel more of the impact from a slowdown. Clothing retailers need a “December to remember,” they said.
Campellone says credit metrics of both high-grade and high-yield retailers “will continue to face pressure” in the first half of next year.
The retail sector already has one of the highest proportions of distressed debt at 13.6%, according to S&P Global Ratings. Next year could also bring an uptick in both individual and company bankruptcies.
With unemployment at 3.7%, there should be about 50,000 to 60,000 bankruptcy cases filed every month, Morin said.
Next year, the historic trend is likely to return, which means twice as many consumers are likely to file for bankruptcy, ...
...especially if unemployment rises, Morin said. Through November this year, about 3,500 cases have been filed.
Yes, there will be a slowdown, but “the possibility of a soft landing is certainly looking better,” said Jennifer ...
...Lee, senior economist at BMO Capital Markets, with a continued strong job market, rising wages and savings.
Still, the slowdown was evident at Newport Centre in Jersey City on a weekday afternoon in mid-December.
Snair, the JCPenney worker, says she’ll follow a new rule next year, asking herself: “Do I really need it tomorrow? Can I do without it? And what substitutions can I make in place?”