Report: The consumer is back
Holiday sales unleashed three years of pent-up demand during the key 2010 shopping season, according to a report from Customer Growth Partners.
Sales in the 2010 holiday period were up more about 5%, according to CGP’s surveys and government data. That’s the biggest year-over-year growth since 2005, when sales increased 6.1%.
“The American consumer is back, big time," said Craig Johnson, CGP president. "He has single-handedly strapped the economy on his back, climbed out of the ditch, and is off and running—despite 10% unemployment. Since consumers represent 70% of the economy, it is entirely possible that fourth quarter GDP growth could reach 5% — because it’s no coincidence that 1999’s stellar retail 4th quarter generated extraordinary GDP growth of 7.4%."
Some of the retailers that are seeing the strongest growth are “home-related retailers that have been in deep freeze for four years,” Johnson said, such as Home Depot, Lowe’s, and Williams-Sonoma, which are having outstanding rebound seasons, he said.
New home sales increase 5.5% in November
Sales of new single-family houses in November 2010 were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 290,000, according to estimates released jointly by the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development — a 5.5% increase over October.
However, the figure is 21.2% below the same month last year.
Commerce Department data also show the median sales price of new houses sold in November 2010 was $213,000; the average sales price was $268,700. The seasonally adjusted estimate of new houses for sale at the end of November was 197,000. This represents a supply of 8.2 months at the current sales rate.
Lowe’s offers LED bulb with Energy Star rating
Mooresville, N.C.-based Lowe’s says it is the first national retailer to offer consumers an Energy Start-rated LED A-Line bulb.
The GE Energy Smart 9-watt LED bulb became available through Lowes.com Dec. 22. The $34.98 bulb offers a unique omni-directional light output meant to replace a 40-watt incandescent bulb in desk, bedside or hallway lamps. It also offers instant full brightness like incandescent and halogen bulbs; a 77% energy savings compared with a 40-watt incandescent bulb; and a rated life of over 22 years when operated 3 hours per day, according to a Lowe’s press release.
The innovation provides "exceptional value for our consumers," said Karena Bailey, Lowe’s merchandising VP.