Robust holiday sales figures reflect the fundamental good health of physical retail and suggest that 2018 will be a good year for retailers, ICSC President and CEO Tom McGee told Bloomberg Radio on Tuesday.
U.S. holiday shoppers spent, on average, $842 each on gifts and other holiday-related items during the 2017 season, up from $711 each during the 2016 holidays, ICSC Research says.
Talk of a retail “apocalypse” is greatly exaggerated, McGee told his radio hosts on Bloomberg Markets AM. “We just experienced an incredibly good holiday shopping season,” he said. Ninety-five percent of holiday shoppers bought goods from retailers with physical stores, the ICSC report says. “I expect the forecast for 2018 to be very strong too,” McGee said.
Asked about the faltering stock prices of some retailers, McGee replied that those do not reflect the overall health of the industry. “The reality is that this has always been a fiercely competitive business,” he said. “There are always going to be winners and losers.”
Similarly, noted McGee, no one should read too much into expected store-closure announcements, which always occur at this time of year, “because that’s when retailers will go through and rationalize their mix," he said. "I think you’re going to see a lot of announced store openings, though, as well,” he added, observing that e-tailers are eager to create a physical presence, and thriving chains like T.J.Maxx are looking to expand.
By Edmund Mander