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Holiday shoppers avoid stores in favor of online shopping

Holiday sales increased, but not much.

During the remake shopping season, many Americans abandoned stores that opened digital stores. According to early sales data from companies that track shoppers’ spending, the buying trend for bulk commodities continues to favor household goods and food rather than clothing.

Data from MasterCard SpendingPulse shows that from November 1 to Christmas Eve, US retail sales increased by 2.4% compared to the same period last year. The company tracks various forms of online and in-store consumption. The company said that during this period, online sales increased by 47.2%. Tally does not include the sale of gasoline and cars.

This is lower than the 3.6% to 5.2% sales growth predicted by the industry organization National Retail Federation last month. With the government reporting December retail data and retailers reporting financial performance, more complete holiday spending will emerge in the coming weeks.

Rod Sides, director of retail and distribution at consulting firm Deloitte LLP, said: “Compared with the past, this will be modest.” Mr. Sides said, due to the large retail stores and online retailers Push, sales volume may rise by a few percentage points because of the surge in Covid-1

9 cases in recent months and new restrictions on public gatherings that have affected performance. He said: “The chaser in retail is continuing to catch up.”

The pandemic has created the holiday shopping season. Winners and losers are extreme. In many cases, profits are reduced. For traditional retailers, due to increased transportation and logistics costs, online sales are usually less profitable than sales from stores.

How will the pandemic affect US retailers? As states across the country work hard to resume operations, the Wall Street Journal investigated the changing retail formats and the way consumers shop in the post-pandemic world. Originally released on November 17.

Companies that perform well include large retailers such as Amazon.com the company

Walmart the company

And Target Corp., had already launched an agile e-commerce business before the pandemic, selling products including food, household products, holiday decorations and fitness products. During the pandemic, shoppers spent more money to beautify their homes or cook more meals. Smaller retailers, those that are more dependent on clothing sales or have been in financial trouble before the pandemic, will usually undercut this holiday.

Mastercard data shows that from October 11 to Christmas Eve, clothing sales fell by 19.1%, although e-commerce sales in this category increased by 15.7%. Department store sales fell by 10.2%. The company said that sales of furniture and furnishings increased 16.2%, while sales of home furnishings increased 14.1%.

Many shoppers avoid stores, even in the last few weeks of the peak season, it is difficult to order products online before Christmas. According to Adobe Analytics, between November 1 and December 22, online sales reached $171.6 billion, a year-on-year increase of 32.4%. Throughout the season, compared with last year, store traffic has declined, and even after the last few weeks, many retailers have stopped promising to receive online orders before Christmas. According to Sensormatic Solutions, in the seven days before Christmas Eve, store traffic dropped by 31.3% compared to last year. The company has cameras and software to track visits to thousands of shopping centers and shopping centers.

Retailers started holiday marketing and promotional activities in early October this year to reduce congestion in stores and ease the burden on the e-commerce supply chain. They also increased sales in response to Amazon’s Prime Day shopping event, which was held in October this year. According to some sales data, shoppers do start spending earlier. Mastercard data shows that retail sales increased by 3% between October 11 and December 24.

Due to online obsessions, some retailers and brands still face the rant of shipping.

Some customers who had not received an order from Lego.com earlier this week received a letter from “Santa’s Lego Assistant”, but addressed it to the children. The letter read: “The elves have been doing their best, but their supplies have run out.” “Since we have to keep the parts to the North Pole, and then the elves must finish the production, it may take a while.”

Gai Walny, the father of the two boys who received the Santa’s letter, said the non-mythical reason for the delay was the heavy burden on the U.S. Postal Service. Mr. Walney ordered a Lego set with the themes of “Minecraft” and “Star Wars” on December 1. According to Mr. Walney’s tracking update of the package, Lego moved the order to the postal service system five days later.

Varney said: “We are actually Jewish.” “The children did not receive this letter.” The 39-year-old owner of a truck parts company in Chicago said that he and his wife bought in the store. I bought other Lego toys for Hanukkah children to eat.

A Lego spokesperson said that in order to help parents explain any possible delays, Lego has sent similar letters over the past few years. She said the company is making shoppers aware of delays on its website.

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A spokesperson said that the Postal Service, like other airlines, is also under performance pressure due to the record number of holidays. She said that due to the surge in Covid-19, a temporary shortage of employees has made the situation more complicated. She said: “We accept all the quantities provided to us, which adds to our challenges.”

The Postal Service is under pressure as it is dealing with more spillovers from United Parcel Service the company

FedEx the company

, Which limits the number of packages they receive into the system. According to data from ShipMatrix, a software provider that analyzes shipping data, the on-time delivery rate improved from December 13 to December 19 after weeks of delays in all three shipping companies. The company said: “Despite the significant improvement in the final stage, there is still more than 1 million online orders at risk of not being delivered before Christmas, but many of them are household purchases related to Covid-19, not Holiday gift.”

Executives and consultants say retailers’ profits may be hit by the surge in online sales.

Sonia Lapinsky, managing director of the retail business of consulting firm AlixPartners, said: “Due to the growth of e-commerce this quarter, we have seen a huge negative trend in profitability.” Invest-Wal-Mart, Targets, they have the cash to solve this problem.” “Now everyone else is fighting.”

Retailers are cutting costs, including reducing available working hours for store employees, especially in small and medium-sized retailers. A spokesperson for the Ultimate Kronos Group said: “In the fall of the holiday season, there is no seasonal hiring boom every fall.” The company provides labor dispatch and human resource technology to traditional retailers and other companies for small and medium enterprises. According to the organization’s data, the number of shifts in the retail industry from mid-October to the week before Christmas fell by 0.7%. In the week before Christmas, the retailer’s shift workload was 12% lower than last year.

The spokesperson said: “There is much less to do.”

Write to Sarah Nassauer, email sarah.nassauer@wsj.com

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