Retail Sales Rise 0.3%
Retail sales rose 0.3% in November, according to the Commerce Department. Economists had expected sales to decline 0.2%. Falling gas prices helped free up cash and holiday spending was brisk. Retail sales were up 2.2% year over year. Excluding automobiles, gasoline, building materials and food services, retail sales rose 0.4% in November after rising 0.2% in October. 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
THD expanded their popular Kids Workshops to military bases coast to coast this holiday season. Kids Workshops launched in stores across the US and Canada in 1997. For more than 25 years, these hands-on workshops have encouraged creativity, problem-solving, skill building and social interaction for the youngest DIYers. In December, THD hosted Kids Workshops for military families across the country. Parents helped their children make Christmas crafts after they gathered for the holiday tree lighting ceremony.
Lowe’s chief marketing officer Marisa Thalberg has left the retailer as part of a broader reorganization. Lowe’s cut Thalberg’s role and moved the marketing team under Bill Boltz, executive vice president of merchandising. Thalberg oversaw several high-profile campaigns, including TV commercials on ESPN during the NFL Draft.
Walmart is stepping up their focus on ecommerce, with Chief Ecommerce Officer Tom Ward saying that they believe the closest store to their customer is the one in their pocket that is open 24/7 and offers customers millions of products to choose from. Pickup of online orders and delivery via their fleet of electric vehicles has helped make shopping easier for customers. They also launched augmented reality tools to show shoppers whether the lipstick is the right shade or the furniture will fit in their room.
AI-powered shopping features like Text to Shop have made it easy for shoppers to have a conversation before they buy something. They are also introducing innovations that allow customers to buy the whole outfit or every ingredient needed for a featured recipe with just one click.
The Federal Trade Commission’s antitrust lawsuit against Amazon probably won’t start until some time in 2026, according to a joint statement by the parties filed this week. The FTC expects to be ready to go to trial in May 2026; Amazon says they won’t be ready until December. Both parties agree that the case is highly complex. The FTC and attorneys general from 17 states filed suit against Amazon, alleging anticompetitive behavior that unlawfully helped Amazon maintain a monopoly.
The claims also involve an algorithm known as Project Nessie that the FTC says fixes prices to Amazon’s advantage and often to the detriment of sellers and consumers. Amazon anticipates that there will be significant discovery from third-party witnesses located throughout the country, such as retail competitors of Amazon, competing fulfillment providers and companies that sell their products in the Amazon store and in other competing retail channels, which will greatly extend the amount of time needed for pre-trial discovery and preparation. Amazon continues to maintain the suits have no basis in fact and should be dismissed.
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