Prepare to hear much more of the "retail spending slowed down because the economy is just too strong" excuses today, used most hilariously by the NRF on Sunday to explain the unprecedented 11% collapse in the 2014 4-day holiday weekend spend, when pundits "justify" why Cyber Monday sales were only the latest proof the US consumer - that 70% driver of US GDP - is being crushed day after day, pardon, basking in the warm glow of America's centrally-planned golden age.
Here are the facts: Internet holiday shopping rose only 8.1% on Cyber Monday yesterday, usually the busiest day for Web shopping as people return to their desks after the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday weekend. This was a big miss to expectations, and is less than half then growth posted just last year, when online sales grew at 17.5%, according to IBM.
Enter the spin doctors:
... Cyber Monday sales growth is slowing as consumers embrace the convenience of online shopping, spreading out their purchases instead of being lured by one-day specials.
... The declining pace of growth reflects an earlier start to the year-end shopping season, with Amazon.com Inc. and other online retailers offering online deals a week before Black Friday, when stores traditionally began offering holiday discounts.
... “We’re still getting really strong growth on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, but people are realizing it’s a season of shopping,” Soren Mills, chief marketing officer at Newegg Inc., an online electronics retailer. “We’re releasing new deals all the time. We refresh constantly and bring in new deals to keep the excitement there. People are turning it from a day-long occasion to a monthlong occasion.”
... “Consumers are definitely shopping earlier,” said Scot Wingo, ChannelAdvisor’s chief executive officer. “Thanksgiving eats into Black Friday, and Saturday and Sunday are eating into Cyber Monday.”
But nothing compares to:
NRF's CEO Matt Shay attributed the drop to a combination of factors, including the fact that retailers moved promotions earlier this year in attempt to get people out sooner and avoid what happened last year when people didn’t finish their shopping because of bad weather. He also attributed the declines to better online offerings and an improving economy where “people don’t feel the same psychological need to rush out and get the great deal that weekend, particularly if they expected to be more deals,” he said.
Yes, consumer spending is plunging due to a stronger economy. Clearly this guy went to Princeton.
All of which is not only funny, but an outright lie as well, because as reported previously, when aggregating all the Thanksgiving spending data from Thursday to Sunday, we find that shoppers spent an average $159.55 online, down 10.2% from $177.67 last year. This took place as there was an actual decline in the percentage of Black Friday weekend shopping taking place online. So not only did Americans buy less online, they spent less online!
Which is why, of course, one needs spin. The problem is when people no longer buy, pardon the pun, the bullshit:
This year, many shoppers stayed home. The NRF had predicted that 140.1 million customers would visit retailers last weekend. Instead, only 133.7 million showed up. The slow start may make it harder for retailers to hit sales targets over the next month. The NRF had predicted a 4.1 percent sales gain for November and December -- the best performance since 2011.
And it may still get it... if all retailers go "full Amazon" and liquidate their wares well below cost, leading to another wave of retail bankruptcies and even more evil, evil deflation.