Skip to content

Our Privacy Statement & Cookie Policy

All Thomson Reuters websites use cookies to improve your online experience. They were placed on your computer when you launched this website. You can change your cookie settings through your browser.

Retail industry

Retail results: Who won (and lost) the holiday shopping season?

Jharonne Martis  Director of Consumer Research, Thomson Reuters

Jharonne Martis  Director of Consumer Research, Thomson Reuters

United States consumer confidence was high enough to get shoppers into stores this holiday season, but not all retailers managed to take advantage.

The numbers are in and over the all-important year-end sales period, consumers in the United States spent enough to give retailers and restaurants a happier holiday season than they had last year, but not quite as much as stores may havehad hoped for.

The Thomson Reuters Same Store Sales (SSS) Index points to 1.9 percent growth for the fourth quarter of 2017. While that’s stronger than the previous year’s 0.8 percent result, it’s still below the 3 percent “healthy” mark, suggesting consumer spending was somewhat restrained.  The Thomson Reuters consumer confidence index indicates consumers are feeling good about their economic situation – and spending their discretionary income – but the average holiday discount (40 percent) wasn’t much different than the average discount offered in previous months (33 to 45 percent). That may have resulted in consumers keeping their wallets and purses closed because they didn’t think the offers they were seeing were good enough.

People are seen walking through Roosevelt Field shopping mall in Garden City, New York February 22, 2015. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton
People are seen walking through Roosevelt Field shopping mall in Garden City, New York.
REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

Deeper analysis, which is available on Thomson Reuters Eikon and Lipper Alpha Insight, reveals where consumers went shopping and dining:

  • The Internet sales sector continues to have the one of the highest earnings growth rate (19.4 percent) of any sector. On the other hand, the Leisure Products sector has the lowest growth rate (-67.5 percent) of any sector.
  •  All restaurant sectors are doing better than last year. The quick-service sector is on top with a robust 3 percent SSS estimate, nicely above last year’s 1 percent SSS result. McDonald’s and Starbucks in particular stood out as winners, reporting 4.3 percent and 3.2 percent SSS growth, respectively.
  • While the Textiles, Apparel and Luxury Goods sectoron the whole is floundering, some clear winners emerged. They include Aerie, a swimsuit and intimates offshoot of American Eagle that is popular with Millennial women (25.6 percent SSS growth) and Lululemon Athletica, which continues to be the first name the athleisure market (8.4 percent SSS growth).
  • A strong housing market helped boost the bottom line at West Elm, Williams-Sonoma’s trendy and moderately priced home goods chain (10.4 percent SSS growth) and do-it-yourself behemoth Home Depot (7.5 percent result above its 6.5 percent SSS estimate).
  • The decline of the shopping mall format continued to be bad news for toy store Build-A-Bear, women’s clothier Chico’s and venerable department store chain Sears. These three retailers are based on the mall format and rely largely on foot traffic. Accordingly, they suffered -7.8, -6.5 and -16.4 percent SSS results, respectively.

A version of this article originally appeared on Inside Financial & Risk.

The Westgate shopping mall is seen near the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
The Westgate shopping mall is seen near the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

Learn more

Explore Thomson Reuters Eikon and Lipper Alpha Insight.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Linkedin
  • Google+
  • Email

More answers