Retailers, consumers and prices
The Commerce Department said total retail sales fell 1.8 percent in November to a seasonally adjusted $355.66 billion following a revised 2.9 percent plunge in October.
Excluding motor vehicles and parts, sales were down 1.6 percent in November after a revised 2.4 percent October fall.
One reason for the decline (besides the struggling consumer) – gas prices. Gasoline sales plummeted a record 14.7 percent after falling 12.9 percent in October, the data showed. Prices at the pump have fallen significantly and that is reflected in the retail sales report, which compiles total sales by gasoline stations.
The data also showed that sales of furniture, electronics and clothing were up in November after decreasing in October. Looks like those Black Friday deals were able to rouse skittish consumers into a spending mode.
Check out the October monthly sales results due this week.
Retail chains, like Wal-Mart, Costco and J.C. Penney, will release October results on Wednesday and Thursday, and Thomson Reuters is forecasting a decline of 0.1 percent.
Check Out Altria Group’s $10.4 billion offer to buy UST Inc.
While rumors of the deal were reported last week, Altria, the maker of Marlboro cigarettes, issued its official offer on Monday to buy UST, the largest U.S. smokeless tobacco maker, for $69.50 a share in cash plus $1.3 billion in debt on Monday.
Buying UST, which also owns Ste. Michelle Wine Estates, would be a quick way for Altria to reach into the growing smokeless tobacco market, as it seeks ways to diversify from the declining U.S. cigarette market.
Apparently, it’s chic to save money. Soaring gas and food prices, falling home values and deteriorating stock portfolios will do that.
According to a survey by WSL Strategic Retail, 56 percent of people said they “feel proud of all the little ways I’ve found to save money and pay for rising food and gas prices.”
It’s good that they feel proud, because 73 percent said they feel they are more careful about shopping now than a year ago.
Meanwhile, 63 percent of women said they avoid going to stores where they know they will overspend. Those stores include specialty clothing retailers (64 percent) and department stores (56 percent)
And of all surveyed, 25 percent said they are buying some new things for the home, since they are spending so much time there.