Retail Sales Rise 0.2%
Retail sales rose 0.2% in June after rising 0.3% in May, according to the Commerce Department. It was the third consecutive monthly increase, but below expectations of 0.5%. Slowing inflation is freeing up cash and helping keep consumer spending steady, although adjusted for inflation, sales are still down 0.8% year over year. Ecommerce sales were up 1.9% for the month. Excluding automobiles, gasoline, building materials and food services, retail sales rose a robust 0.6% after rising 0.2% in May. The increase was three times the expected level. Core retail sales, which are mostly goods and not adjusted for inflation, correspond most closely with the consumer spending component of GDP. The retail sales report covers about a third of overall consumer spending and doesn't include services, such as travel and entertainment.
The Home Depot
The Home Depot celebrated the 15-year anniversary of their Merchandise Execution Team (MET). The mission of the MET is to make things simple for customers and associates by improving the shopping environment. That first year the team had 2,000 associates traveling in teams around their districts; today there are more than 25,000. THD says the team is incredibly passionate about improving the customer experience and support their ever-changing needs. They standardize the selling floor and try to make sure the shopping experience is easy and fun. If you ever see someone in an orange polo shirt in the store, chances are they’re an MET team member, and nobody will know more about Home Depot’s enormous inventory than they do.
Lowe’s was ranked number 9 on The National Retail Federation’s annual list of the Top 100 retailers. Lowe’s has held the ninth spot since 2019.
Lowe’s opened their 11th Lowe’s Outlet Store in Greensboro, NC; they have plans to open additional outlets this year but did not disclose how many. Lowe’s uses the outlets to sell scratched and dented appliances, patio furniture and grills. The outlets offer up to 70% off these products, which are available in-store only. There are currently outlets in California, Texas, Georgia, Florida, Illinois, Missouri and Connecticut.
Lowe’s is expanding their partnership with Petco Health + Wellness to 300 stores after a successful test market in 15 stores that began in January 2022. The program is designed to strengthen Lowe’s position in the rural marketplace.
Lowe’s is expanding their same-day delivery service nationwide for online orders. Lowe’s is partnering with OneRail, an omnichannel fulfilment company. Lowe’s says partnering with OneRail improves performance and lowers costs.
Walmart outpaced rivals Target and Amazon during Amazon’s Prime Days. All three launched multi-day savings events, but Walmart's daily active users grew 27% year-over-year during Amazon's Prime day event, compared to a 5% rise for Amazon and a 10% drop in Target's daily active users, according to analysts at Jefferies. Analysts say the growing digital presence for WM is good indication they are gaining mind and wallet share.
US online shoppers spent a record $12.7 billion during Amazon’s two-day Prime Days event in early July, up 6.1% from last year, according to Adobe. Customers choosing Amazon’s buy now, pay later options accounted for about $927 million in sales, up 20% from last year. Sales were evenly split between the two days. On Wednesday, sales of appliances were up 52% compared to average daily sales in June, Adobe said. Sales of housekeeping supplies were up 27% compared to that period, while stationery and office supplies climbed 76%, as customers tried to get a jump on back-to-school shopping.
The average order size was $54, up from $52 during Prime Day 2022, according to data and tech company Numerator. This year, 65% of households shopping Prime Day placed two or more orders, bringing the average household spend to $155.
Amazon's 2023 Prime Day surpassed its results from 2022. Amazon reported that consumer savings increased from $1.7 billion to $2.5 billion. The total number of purchases rose from 300 million to 375 million items.
Numerator's analysis found shoppers this year favored lower priced items. The average spend per item was $32, with 57% of items purchased marked under $20 and just 5% going for more than $100.
Amazon has sped up delivery times by 400% since 2019 by pouring time and resources into revamping their delivery network for the past four years in an effort to shorten shipping times from two days to one day or less. So far this year they’ve delivered 1.8 billion units to US Prime members the same or next day, roughly four times what it delivered at those speeds by the end of July 2019. Going from central warehouses to eight regional distribution centers cut the distance items travel from warehouses to customers by 15%, and lowered the number of "touchpoints," or how many times a package is handled, by 12%. Amazon has also seen improvements in their machine-learning technology that allows them to better plan where and how much inventory is placed in warehouses. Across the top 60 U.S. metro areas, Amazon says more than half of Prime orders arrived the same or next day.
Amazon will now alert customers to product recalls. Customers will now see a banner alert at the top of the Your Orders page if a product they ordered is the subject of a recall. Clicking it will lead you to a new page titled Your Recalls and Product Safety Alerts, where users will find more details about the issues the product has, as well as options for a refund, a return or a repair. You'll also get a personalized email from Amazon.
In the past, users would have to rely on third-party sites to get information about recalled products. In many cases, they would also have to submit personal information to these sites to receive instructions on returns, repairs or product disposal.
Amazon will invest more than $120 million to build a satellite construction facility at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center as part of their plans to launch a space internet service to rival SpaceEx’s Starlink. Project Kuiper will be focused on providing reliable, affordable internet services to underserved populations around the world with more than 3,200 satellites in a low Earth orbit.
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