FirstData: Strong holiday — but some retailers left in the cold
Despite disappointing results from some retailers, overall holiday sales are shaping up to be in line with industry projections.
That is according to First Data’s “Holiday 2016 SpendTrend” study, which reported retail spending increased 3.6% during the holiday period, in line with the National Retail Federation’s forecast. When non-retail spending (including travel, restaurants, beverages and leisure) is in included in the mix, consumer spending rose 4.7%, according to First Data. (The report is based on First Data proprietary transaction data and includes only actual card-based forms of payment across online and brick-and-mortar channels.)
The biggest winner was online, where sales rose 12%, accounting for 21.3% of all holiday spending, up 15.4% from last year. Other winners included electronics and appliances which saw significant growth this year, up 8.5% overall compared to being down 2.2% during the holidays last year.
But as the report makes clear, not all retailers had a happy holiday. Department stores were down 4.8% overall, while clothing and accessories saw modest growth of 0.1%. Women’s ready-to-wear retailers saw a decline of 3.7% in year-over-year growth.
Overall brick-and-mortar growth was up slightly, posting 1.6% year over year, with the growth primarily driven by spending in the West and Midwest regions of the United States. The Southwest experienced a decline in growth rates as it was down 0.6% in retail spend, data showed.
“Consumers were actively spending this holiday season however, retail stores had mixed results, with some categories posting high growth rates while others lagged behind,” said Rishi Chhabra, VP, information and analytics at First Data. “We continue to see a strong shift to online shopping, and were impressed with the significant growth in e-commerce transactions. More and more, shoppers are opting to stay home to avoid the crowds and make purchases on their own time.”
Discounter has better-than-expected holiday sales
Ollie's Bargain Outlet Holdings raised its full-year outlook after shoppers flocked to its stores in search of its signature “good stuff cheap” during the holiday season.
For the nine-week period ended December 31, 2016, Ollie’s total sales increased 16.3%, with a same-store sales increase of 1.9%. The discounter said it now expects full-year net sales to total about $888 million, ahead of the FactSet consensus of $874 million. It expects same-store sales growth of about 3% and per-share earnings of about 93 cents.
“We are thrilled with our holiday sales results, as well as the underlying trends and consistency of the business,” said Mark Butler, chairman, president and CEO. “Despite an extremely challenging same store sales comparison of 14% on a two-year stacked basis, we believe our sales results through the first nine weeks of the quarter position us well to deliver another solid increase in comparable store sales in the fourth quarter."
Party City acquires 18 locations
Party City Holdco Inc. continues to acquire its franchised locations.
The company has entered into an agreement to acquire a master franchise group representing 18 franchise stores in Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi and Florida, and with estimated 2016 sales of approximately $34 million. The purchase price is estimated to be $14.5 million to $15.0 million.
“Acquiring franchise stores over time is an integral component of our strategy to invest in growth opportunities at attractive multiples of earnings,” said James M. Harrison, CEO, Party City Holdco. “This acquisition gives the Company total ownership of the Louisiana and Alabama markets, creating an opportunity to open additional company-owned stores over time and strengthen the brand integrity of these locations, improving the experience for our customers.”
Party City Holdco Inc. designs, manufactures, sources and distributes party goods. The company’s retail operations include over 900 specialty retail party supply stores (including approximately 160 franchise stores) throughout North America operating under the names Party City and Halloween City, and e-commerce websites.