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Holiday Retail Sales Could Be Losing Their Spirit

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November retail sales only rose 0.2% from October, falling sizably short of the 0.5% estimations. With unemployment at a half-century low, what is holding consumers back? Have US shoppers lost their holiday cheer or is something else to blame?

Thanksgiving came on the 28th this year, the latest it could be in November. This left only 2 days for holiday shopping last month with the holiday shopping season ostensibly starting the day after thanksgiving.

The “retail apocalypse” also played its role in November’s softer than expected retail figures. Black Friday’s Doorbusters are losing their allure to Cyber Monday. Roughly 40% of holiday shoppers said they would be doing their holiday shopping online.

Waiting for Cyber Monday reduces the stress of Black Friday shopping. It is the preferred method for most Millennials and Gen Z’s unless you are a deal junkie that loves the Black Friday rush. Cyber Monday occurring in December didn’t help last month’s figures.

Online shopping was up 11.5% from last November with broader retail up only 2.5%. Companies like Amazon (AMZN - Free Report) and Alibaba (BABA - Free Report) are reaping the benefits of the shifting consumer.

Department stores that rely heavily on holiday shopping for a large portion of their sales are taking a hit. Stocks like Macy’s (M - Free Report) and Kohl’s (KSS - Free Report) continue to get beat up into the holiday season.

Consumer spending may also be a culprit. Consumers may be holding back on hefty holiday spending as they see a foggy economic future ahead.