STORES Magazine - April 2018 - 7

n

PRESIDENT'S PAGE

The Slump That Wasn't
S

ometimes, you just have
to ask what people are
thinking.
When January's retail sales
results were released earlier
this year, the headlines and
opening sentences of news
stories would have made you
think our industry was about
to collapse - lines like "Retail
Sales Slump," "A Tough
Month for Retailers," "Retail
Gloom" or "Surprising Drop
in Retail Sales," to cite just a few.
Granted, unjustified retail-bashing has
been the sport of the moment for much
of the past year. But just how far did sales
have to drop to produce such a reaction?
Would you believe less than one-third of a
percentage point?
Yes, that's right. Despite the headlines,
January's retail sales were down only
0.3 percent from December, according
to official numbers released by the
Commerce Department. And under NRF's
calculations - which exclude automobiles,
gasoline stations and restaurants - they
were down even less: 0.26 percent.
In other words, the change that
produced such a panic amounted to
less than a rounding error. And the
overreaction ignored the fact that monthly
sales numbers are subject to change -
initial reports get revised twice as more
data becomes available and often change
significantly. Final January results won't be
known until mid-April.
The stories made much of the fact that
the 0.3 percent decrease was the biggest
in 11 months. But if that's the biggest drop
in a year, it's not a sign of an industry in
decline - instead, it's a sign of stability.
Most importantly, the January "slump"
came in comparison with the best holiday
season since the Great Recession. Holiday
sales in November and December were up

STORES.ORG

5.5 percent over 2016. And
January was still a year-overyear increase of 5.4 percent.
That's growth many CEOs
would love to see.
Rather than being a slump,
NRF pointed out that the
January results showed the
momentum of the holiday
season had carried over into
the new year. The virtually
unchanged level of spending
- which came even though
the holidays were over and January is
traditionally a slow month - indicated
that 2018 was off to a positive start.
We continue to believe January's strong
showing was a sign of what's to come.
With employment up, labor markets
tightening, wages rising and consumer
confidence the highest in nearly a
generation, NRF's annual forecast calls for
retail sales to grow between 3.8 percent
and 4.4 percent this year.
In addition to the underlying
fundamentals of a growing economy,
NRF expects sales to see a boost because
of landmark tax reform that took effect
in January. Tax reform has already put
more take-home pay in workers' pockets,
and is expected to boost employment as
businesses grow.
Whether it's headline writers, lawmakers
or analysts, it's time to recognize that retail
is thriving, not slumping. Our industry
is on the rise, with sales growing at a
healthy pace despite transformation and
challenges. And NRF is confident 2018 will
be yet another successful year.

STORES is published by the
National Retail Federation Inc.
1101 New York Avenue, NW
Suite 1200
Washington, D.C. 20005.
202/783-7971
FAX 202/737-2849
CHAIRMAN OF THE BOARD
Christopher Baldwin, President and
CEO, BJ's Wholesale Club
VICE CHAIR
Karen Katz, former President and
CEO, Neiman Marcus Group
PRESIDENT & CEO
Matthew R. Shay
SENIOR VICE PRESIDENTS
Cristina Ceresoli, Retail Strategy
Ellen Davis, NRF Foundation
Stephanie Martz,
General Counsel
David French,
Government Relations
Carleen C. Kohut, COO
Lisa Marzetti, Member Development
& Partnerships
Susan Newman, Conferences
Bill Thorne, Communications
& Public Affairs

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
David French 202/626-8112

VICE PRESIDENT,
MEMBER ENGAGEMENT
Artemis Berry 202/626-8118

1101 New York Avenue, NW
Suite 1200
Washington, D.C. 20005
All articles published in this magazine
represent solely the individual opinions of
the writers, and not necessarily those of the
National Retail Federation.

STORES April 2018 7


http://www.STORES.ORG

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of STORES Magazine - April 2018

Editor’s Page
President’s Page
Retail Politics
NRF News
TRENDS
C2W
Retail People
A Taste for Success
Want It, Need It, Gotta Have It
SUPPLY CHAIN
TECHNOLOGY
FINANCE
Q&A
MERCHANDISING
BUSINESS OPERATIONS Lowe’s expands training program to help communities in need.
BUSINESS OPERATIONS Bloomin’ Brands uses data to save money and improve the customer experience.
BUSINESS OPERATIONS Grove Collaborative reduces delivery times and improves customer satisfaction.
STARTUP SPOTLIGHT IceCream Labs uses machine learning and visual intelligence to drive ecommerce.
THEFT
SECURITY
POV
Communities
End Cap
STORES Magazine - April 2018 - Intro
STORES Magazine - April 2018 - cover1
STORES Magazine - April 2018 - cover2
STORES Magazine - April 2018 - 3
STORES Magazine - April 2018 - 4
STORES Magazine - April 2018 - 5
STORES Magazine - April 2018 - Editor’s Page
STORES Magazine - April 2018 - President’s Page
STORES Magazine - April 2018 - Retail Politics
STORES Magazine - April 2018 - NRF News
STORES Magazine - April 2018 - TRENDS
STORES Magazine - April 2018 - 11
STORES Magazine - April 2018 - 12
STORES Magazine - April 2018 - 13
STORES Magazine - April 2018 - 14
STORES Magazine - April 2018 - C2W
STORES Magazine - April 2018 - Retail People
STORES Magazine - April 2018 - 17
STORES Magazine - April 2018 - A Taste for Success
STORES Magazine - April 2018 - 19
STORES Magazine - April 2018 - 20
STORES Magazine - April 2018 - 21
STORES Magazine - April 2018 - Want It, Need It, Gotta Have It
STORES Magazine - April 2018 - 23
STORES Magazine - April 2018 - 24
STORES Magazine - April 2018 - 25
STORES Magazine - April 2018 - SUPPLY CHAIN
STORES Magazine - April 2018 - 27
STORES Magazine - April 2018 - 28
STORES Magazine - April 2018 - TECHNOLOGY
STORES Magazine - April 2018 - 30
STORES Magazine - April 2018 - FINANCE
STORES Magazine - April 2018 - 32
STORES Magazine - April 2018 - Q&A
STORES Magazine - April 2018 - MERCHANDISING
STORES Magazine - April 2018 - 35
STORES Magazine - April 2018 - BUSINESS OPERATIONS Lowe’s expands training program to help communities in need.
STORES Magazine - April 2018 - 37
STORES Magazine - April 2018 - BUSINESS OPERATIONS Bloomin’ Brands uses data to save money and improve the customer experience.
STORES Magazine - April 2018 - 39
STORES Magazine - April 2018 - BUSINESS OPERATIONS Grove Collaborative reduces delivery times and improves customer satisfaction.
STORES Magazine - April 2018 - 41
STORES Magazine - April 2018 - STARTUP SPOTLIGHT IceCream Labs uses machine learning and visual intelligence to drive ecommerce.
STORES Magazine - April 2018 - THEFT
STORES Magazine - April 2018 - 44
STORES Magazine - April 2018 - 45
STORES Magazine - April 2018 - SECURITY
STORES Magazine - April 2018 - 47
STORES Magazine - April 2018 - POV
STORES Magazine - April 2018 - Communities
STORES Magazine - April 2018 - End Cap
STORES Magazine - April 2018 - cover3
STORES Magazine - April 2018 - cover4
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