Re-Inventing Retail

From the Co-Founders of The Retail Owners Institute.
Tips | Tactics | Insights on the Business of Retailing.

Christmas Gift for Retailers Bookmark

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This looks promising!

"Consumer confidence hits 18-year high" is a welcome headline to retailers. In The ROI's view, consumer confidence is one of the most reliable indicators of retail sales trends.

And just as the Conference Board was reporting that their consumer confidence index was at the highest level since September 2000, the National Retail Federation reported that consumers anticipate their Holiday spending to be 4.1% higher than last year. This corresponds with the NRF's economic forecast of Holiday spending increases of 4.3%-4.8% over 2017.

“The holidays are just around the corner and consumers are ready to shop,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said. “Confidence is near an all-time high, unemployment is the lowest we’ve seen in decades and take-home wages are up. All of that is reflected in consumers’ buying plans."

Here is how consumers expect to allocate their Holiday spending across its 3 major categories:

  1. Gifts – 63% of total
  2. Non-gift holiday items (food, decorations, flowers, greeting cards) – 21% of total
  3. Other non-gift purchases (seasonal deals and promotions; aka "self gifting"?) – 15%


Nice, eh? Welcome and upbeat forecasts. We think of them as Christmas gifts for retailers.

But, one has to wonder: Dare they be believed?

  • - What about all the headlines and news about the stock market declines? Tariffs and trade wars? A looming economic slowdown?
  • - And then there is the contentious political environment. What will be the aftermath of the mid-term election results?

Well, let's put those in context: 

  • - First, consumer confidence levels measure the attitudes of the general public, and tend to be a reflection of their feelings about employment and wages. Paychecks matter! And those trends are very strong. 
  • - Meanwhile, stocks tend to be held by wealthier Americans, who may be impacted more by other economic factors. And the stock market especially dislikes uncertainty, which is likely to continue – or even increase – after the election. 


Look, we do not see coal in your Christmas stockings. Consumer confidence is such a major feature of sales volume that we have a new idea for you. Ready?

Get your local newspaper to publish a story about this all-time high consumer confidence for your customers to read. Make it a self-fulfilling prophecy! Prime the pump, baby!

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About The Co-Founders

Pat Johnson and Dick Outcalt, The Co-Founders of The Retail Owners Institute®, have been called "The Zen masters of retail finance!"

Since 1999, they have been assembling  their proprietary content into a unique self-help website. The Retail Owners Institute is an unmatched resource that assists retailers worldwide with basic financial training, assistance and easy-to-use tools.

Their engaging and empowering how-to resources about the financial levers in retailing are informative, fun(!), and retailer-friendly. Their promise: "Everyone will 'get it'!"

Pat and Dick are recognized experts in strategic retailing. Working only as a team – Outcalt & Johnson: Retail Strategists, LLC – they have been consulting, publishing, and speaking professionally throughout North America since 1990.

They focus exclusively on retail, or wherever retail is involved. They work with CEOs, CFOs, boards and owners of retail operations, as well as manufacturers or wholesalers expanding into retail. And they also are Retail Turnaround Experts.

Since 1999, empowering retailers and store owners to "Turn on your financial headlights!"