Reuters: Thanksgiving Holiday Sales Are Strong

November 27, 2023

Cyber Monday shoud be renamed Cyber Holiday Weekend

Running Point and its chief investment officer, Michael Ashley Schulman, CFA were quoted by Reuters — in an article by Bansari Mayur Kamdar and Suzanne McGee, “Most US retail ETFs extend gains on record holiday shopping sales” — regarding retail stocks and ETFs outpacing the broader stock market higher today, with most posting gains amidst record holiday sales as predicted by us last week.

The article was also picked up by Yahoo Finance, Street Insider, Trading View, Market Screener, Boursorama, XM (Cyprus), US News, SRN News, and, amongst others.

Holiday sales exceed expectations🛍

Black Friday sales eclipsed pre-pandemic levels. Buoyed by the strong start, total holiday sales momentum is expected to remain high in light of year-over-year declines in gas prices and an extra pre-Christmas weekend this year.

Cyber Holiday Weekend, up, up, up🎈

Cyber Monday should be renamed Cyber Holiday Weekend as online shopping kicked in on Thanksgiving Thursday and remained strong through the traditional Cyber Monday.

The blockbuster kickoff to the most crucial selling period appears to contradict notions of consumer exhaustion, at least for the time being. Retail spending over the Thanksgiving shopping weekend, including Black Friday and Cyber Monday, considerably outpaced forecasts. The robust results led some analysts to increase projections for aggregate seasonal demand.

Earlier warnings from major retailers like Walmart and Best Buy citing risks of uneven consumer appetite had dampened hopes for the overall holiday season, however, the early returns proved shoppers remain willing and able to spend. With auto and entertainment industry labor disputes resolved, associated consumer discretionary purchases also receive a boost through year-end.

This ties in with what we reported to the media back in October — “Consumer spending should remain resilient especially through the holiday season because unemployment levels remain low and wages continue to grow,” — when asked about Visa’s projected earnings.

“Visa profit beats estimates on post-pandemic travel boost,” Reuters, October 24, 2023 

This also ties in with what we said last week, “Black Friday sales should be a complete blow-out.”


Holiday retail positioned to set sales records📈

This long-awaited recovery to pre-pandemic sales levels comes as a welcome sign for retailers entering the make-or-break fourth quarter. However, connecting with inflation-conscious audiences through the right mix of innovation and affordability remains critical.

Navigating uncertainty with careful messaging🧭

Brands feel amplified pressure to flawlessly execute this holiday season amidst economic anxiety. A key priority will be striking the right tone between optimistic messaging and price-conscious value. Some companies are betting big on digital experiences and emerging platforms to woo young, digital-native shoppers. Simultaneously, shifts in preferences like renewed appetite for in-store shopping will drive simplicity and back-to-basics offerings. Finding the optimal balance of innovation and nostalgia while keeping prices competitive may determine the retail winners of 2023.

Preventing excess inventory will be key🗝

While Wall Street might pardon slightly weaker than expected holiday sales amongst individual retailers, excess post-season inventories that erode margins and sink year-end balance sheets will be unforgivable. Retail leadership teams must carefully calibrate markdowns to stimulate demand without overcorrecting. Sophisticated data analytics can help gauge price elasticity and optimize promotions. The more successful retailers will clear aged goods without resorting to the damaging overuse of blanket discounts.

Shopping, in-person, online, and using AI🛒

Consumers eager for bargains are exploring physical stores for deals while simultanbeously using search engines, e-commerce sites, brand websites, generative AI, and social platforms to refine their choices, compare options, and receive recommendations. Retailers must enable frictionless transactions across all touchpoints because consumers will make final purchases both in-person and online through this omnichannel process.

Article quotes are below:

Forecasts from PwC and Deloitte that U.S. shoppers would finally surpass pre-pandemic holiday spending levels created a “positive outlook” that is “a welcome sign for retailers gearing up for the critical fourth-quarter sales period,” said Michael Ashley Schulman, chief investment officer at Running Point Capital. “However, lingering anxiety remains around connecting with inflation-squeezed shoppers in a turbulent environment.”

Strong Holiday Sales
Black Friday & Cyber Weekend — Photography and graphics by

If you’re trying to sell it to me for full price, you’ve picked the wrong girl.

Elle Woods, Legally Blonde

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