First Week of Holiday Sales Up Over Last Year

Small appliances and apparel were the primary growth drivers during the kick off to the holiday shopping season.

NORTH AMERICA–Dollar sales for the first week of November were 2 percent higher than they were in the first week of November 2016, according to The NPD Group’s U.S. weekly point-of-sale results for key general merchandise categories tracked throughout the holiday season.

Overall, small appliances and apparel were the primary growth drivers for the week. Increases in unit sales were also a primary source of the week’s gains–with the exception of apparel, where an increase in average selling price was also a key contributor to overall dollar gains.

Furthermore, the top performing categories for the first week of November were: women’s apparel (driven by outerwear), men’s apparel (driven by sweats/active bottoms), home appliances (driven by heaters), boy’s apparel (driven by sweats/active bottoms) and stereo headphones.

“Holiday 2017 appears to be heating up a bit earlier than the 2016 season, thanks in-part to a dramatic change to cooler weather in parts of the U.S.,” says Marshal Cohen, chief industry analyst, The NPD Group. “The home industry’s hot-streak, driven by the consumer’s focus on enhancing their everyday lives, will likely continue through the holiday season. The apparel industry’s challenge will be to keep this early momentum going, and not sell out on the products driving early growth.

“The early shopper appears to be engaged, but it will be important to keep an eye on shopping patterns throughout the 2017 holiday season,” continues Cohen. “While consumer intentions indicate a move from late-season shopping to Thanksgiving week, the extra shopping week before Christmas will be critical for retailers looking to get that last holiday push.”

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