Holiday Sales +3.1% | #1 Rent: 5th Ave | Return It: PA


US retail sales grow 3.1% during holiday season – Mastercard report at Reuters. “The increase is lower than the 3.7% growth Mastercard forecast in September, and has slumped from last year’s 7.6% as higher interest rates and inflation pressured consumer spending…Ecommerce sales grew at a slower pace of 6.3% from last year’s 10.6%…apparel and restaurant categories rose 2.4% and 7.8%, respectively…while sales of electronics fell 0.4%.” Read more


Maersk to resume Red Sea voyages with Operation Prosperity Guardian in place at Fox News. “More details were expected to be released in the coming days, according to Maersk, adding it could very well revert to sending ships on other routes if conditions deteriorate.” Read more


…Hapag-Lloyd to decide on Wednesday about Red Sea routes at CNBC


Retailers Are Bracing for Their Postholiday Returns Hangover at WSJ. “Inmar Intelligence and its 300,000-square-foot warehouse is on the front lines of the business known as reverse logistics…Workers at the site, which sits in an Eastern Pennsylvania region filled with distribution centers that serve stores on the Eastern Seaboard, sift through as many as 950,000 goods a week from companies including fashion retailers, home-goods merchants, department-store chains and retail pharmacies.” WSJ subs.


U.S. home prices hit an all-time high in October, Case-Shiller says at MarketWatch. “The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller 20-city house price index rose a seasonally adjusted 0.6% in October compared to the previous month. Home prices in the 20 major U.S. metro markets were up 4.9% in the last 12 months ending in October.” Read more


The Title of ‘World’s Priciest Retail Rent’ Resides in America at WSJ. “Rents averaged $2,000 a square foot on upper Fifth Avenue over the past year, according to real-estate firm Cushman & Wakefield. That was about 13% higher than the world’s next-most-expensive shopping destination, Via Montenapoleone in Milan. New York City displaced Hong Kong last year to top the chart for the first time since 2017. Fifth Avenue’s rent prices are still below prepandemic levels, but store availability has fallen as retailers ranging from Abercrombie & Fitch to Citizen Watch have opened new locations.” WSJ subs.


Zulily transfers assets to professional liquidator as failed retailer unable to issue refunds at GeekWire


Amazon sellers say misleading AI product reviews threaten sales at Bloomberg via Seattle Times. “A summary of Penn tennis balls says some reviewers were disappointed with the product’s smell. The $4 three-ball sleeve has a 4.7-star rating based on more than 4,300 ratings but only seven reviews mention an odor…An eight-pack of Mason jars had 4.5 stars based on more than 3,000 ratings. The AI-generated summary says: “However, some customers have reported issues with rusting lids.” Shoppers must click deeper into the product to see that just 16 customers complained about rust.” Read more


Canadian month-on-month retail sales grew by 0.7% in October but most likely were flat in November at Reuters


How a 40-ounce cup turned Stanley into a $750 million a year business at CNBC. “I felt like I was signing a mortgage,” (Influencer) LeSueur tells CNBC Make It of her purchase order for 5,000 Quenchers…Those Quenchers, however, sold out within days. When (new CEO) Reilly took charge, he embraced The Buy Guide as partners…“My experience at Crocs told me that that kind of influencer opportunity was just the magic that Stanley might need,” he says. “And we were right.” Read more


Amazon’s new Echo Frames can’t touch the Ray-Ban Meta at TechCrunch


Subscription-based care moves beyond peddling birth control and helping with hair loss at AP. “This Netflix-like approach promises help for two common difficulties in the U.S.: access to health care and prescription refills. But it also stirs concern about care quality…Hims has topped 1.4 million subscribers this year. It expects to pull in at least $1.2 billion in annual sales by 2025.” Read more


Newegg Q3 net sales down 16% Press release


Costco rumored to be discontinuing sweet treat from food court at Fox News. “My brother (Costco employee) just told me they were getting rid of the churros at the food court and replacing them with cookies,” a user near the Goleta, Calif. warehouse said…”It is true. They have found a company to make the cookies, agreements are finalized. They will be showing up in early 2024, along with chocolate ice cream which will appear before summer,” (another) user wrote.” Read more


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