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Spooky

US retailers continue to suffer from frightful occurrences of bankruptcies, zombie malls and acute Amazonitis, e.g., Kroger stock tanked when Amazon announced their plans for Whole Foods. But all is not lost.

Halloween has scared up wickedly positive sales for retailers this year. The National Retail Federation estimates more than 179 million Americans will have participated in some type of Halloween festivities, up from 171 million last year and 157 million in 2015. And total Halloween spending - for costumes, cards, decorations, candy and more - will end hit a record $9.1 billion, up from $8.4 billion last year, even with chocolate prices down an average of .9% this year.

The upbeat readings on Halloween sales fit with what most economists say about consumers' moods, which have been improving along with gains in hiring, stable retail prices, rising home values and growing retirement savings accounts. This all bodes well for Holiday shopping, too, especially since there is one more weekend day between Thanksgiving and Christmas this year.

Retail remains challenging and keeps evolving to incorporate new technology, inventory management, and promotions to better serve shoppers. Things may feel spooky at retail – Kmarts are especially morgue-like these days – but everything is not doom and gloom.