Retail Report: Growth Slowed Prior to Black Friday
Nov 29, 2010
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An analysis of year-over-year U.S. consumer spending data from shows there has been a rebound from the Great Recession but that shopping hasn’t come back entirely.

“Last year, the data we tracked showed that most retailers had climbed out of the hole the 2008 recession had created in their preholiday sales,” said Stew Langille, director of marketing for Intuit Personal Finance Group, parent of the online personal finance service “This year, it seems clear that while there was a distinct rebound, growth has decelerated and we haven’t returned to prerecession spending."

Langille added: "We’ve hit a new normal and it will be interesting to see what the holiday season brings.”

The report examined the same group of retailers as in 2009, designed to be representative of discretionary shopping categories, to see how U.S. spending is changing. The group was selected from more than 13,000 national retailers. All were top performers in the third quarter 2009, based on average monthly spend per user. The 2010 data looks at Q1-Q3 2010, vs. the company's standing at this time last year. Retailers include:

• Best Buy. The report said the appliances/electronics retailer recovered last year from a decline of 7% during the 2008 recession to show 1% growth. This year, the company is up an additional 4.1%.

•Fry’s. The report said Fry’s trailed competitor Best Buy dramatically in its recovery last year, but this year shows a 6.9% increase.

• Sears. The report said Sears department store sales last year showed 8% year-over-year growth, after falling off 10% at its recessionary low. This year the company posts growth again, with a 6.4% increase.

• Target. The report said Target was one of few retailers that remained down in 2009, reporting a 4% year-over-year decline, Target now posts 4.7% growth over last year.

The report said retailers saw strong growth in the first half of 2010, followed a universal drop in the third quarter.

“People seem to be tightening their belts and saving up for holiday shopping by being more prudent in the months leading into the season,” said Langille. “Though some of the retailers saw double-digit growth in the first half of this year, spending has ratcheted back across the board, in some cases dipping below where it stood at this time last year.”

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