As retailers approach the final eight days of this year’s holiday shopping surge period, government reported retail sales data from November reinforces that the current holiday fulfillment period is faring well for the industry.

According to a U.S. Commerce Department report released last week, estimates of U.S. retail and food services sales for November 2017, adjusted for seasonal variation were $492.7 billion, an increase of 0.8 percent from the previous October, and 5.8 percent above November 2016.

In the Nonstories retailer’s category that includes online sites including Amazon, revenues were reported to be up 21.3 percent, yet another indication of shopping preferences towards online.

Many categories reflected solid gains to include electronics and appliances up substantially, clothing and accessories up over 20 percent and general merchandise up over 13 percent.

This data is obviously good news from various retailers and provides evidence that optimistic estimates for sales levels for the current period are holding to trend in November. The data further provides evidence that manufacturer and retailer efforts to add more overall inventory for this year’s surge period may have paid dividends, helping to better manage any inventory overhang in December.

Another Glitch Report

In the category of media scapegoats for the current holiday period, toy maker Mattel has made business headlines.  The maker of Barbie, Fisher-Price and Hot Wheels brands filed a securities advisory indicating that the company anticipates that gross sales are now expected to decline at least a mid-to-high single digit percentage and that inventory write-downs are likely depending on the amount of promotional discounting that occurs in the firm’s current quarter.

Earlier this year, the toy company brought on its third new CEO in as many years, one that is evaluating some significant supply chain moves to include outsourcing of manufacturing.

According to reporting from The Wall Street Journal citing informed sources, a relatively new one-million square foot distribution center in Pennsylvania, designed to support Northeastern States fulfillment has incurred start-up glitches and is operating below expected capacity. As a result, existing orders from retailers are being re-routed to two other DC’s in Texas and California. This situation will likely add additional transport and inventory costs.

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