Retailers hoping better sales will be in the bags

Old Saint Nick has become an impatient bloke.

Before the last trick-or-treater had called it a night, shelves at local Walgreens stores were cleared of Halloween candy and costumes and restocked with Christmas decorations and gifts.

The holiday shopping season can’t come soon enough for retailers looking to strengthen sales in recessionary times. Every year, the holiday shopping season seems to start a little earlier. Thanksgiving gets lost in the shuffle.

The National Retail Federation is forecasting $447.1 billion in holiday sales this year, a 2.3 percent increase from last year, which would be a significant improvement from a 0.4 increase and 3.9 percent decrease in the two previous years.

Some 138 million shoppers are expected to swarm stores on Black Friday and over the weekend, so named for the day retailers’ profits go from “red” to “black,” compared with 134 million last year.

Rob Sorum, manager of J.C. Penney at the Galleria at Sunset mall in Henderson, said he’s picking up a “slight sense of optimism” for the first time in three holiday seasons.

“We saw it the last of October and the first two weeks of November,” Sorum said. “We saw them hold back last year, but they’re out spending now. I think everyone was so conservative last year, we held back so long, now we’re going to go out and treat ourselves. It gives us hope for a good holiday.”

An early best-seller is jewelry, which Sorum found a little surprising since it’s usually more of a last-minute purchase. Electronics are hot, especially iPod speakers and dock stations, he said.

Shipping volume has increased 10 percent across the board at Henderson-based Webgistix, a company that fulfills e-commerce orders globally. Chief Executive Officer Joe DiSorbo said he expects to ship about 10,000 orders on Cyber Monday, the day that typically starts the rush for online shopping.

“It’s turned. People weren’t bringing in inventory last year,” DiSorbo said Wednesday as he supervised operations in a 30,000-square-foot warehouse on Wigwam Parkway. “We’re seeing more inventory, a definite uptick. That’s a sign of optimism.”

Retail analysts are still concerned about the high unemployment rate in Las Vegas and how that will affect consumer spending.

Jeff Green of Phoenix-based Jeff Green Partners said it didn’t appear as though consumers were doing as much Christmas shopping in October as retailers had hoped. He thinks estimates of a 3 percent increase in holiday sales are way too high.

“I think it’s going to be flat to slightly up,” he said. “Because until the employment picture looks a little better, not only in your market but nationally, I can’t see retail sales picking up. It’s the same thing in Phoenix.”

People will spend about the same as last year, but the product mix will be different, Green said.

Consumer electronics, toy stores and moderately priced jewelers will have strong sales this holiday season, while luxury items such as home furnishings will be down and all categories of apparel will be flat, he said.

Value is still important to shoppers. Midlevel retailers — those falling between luxury and value — will mostly likely see sales decline, he said.

“That may bode well for Las Vegas,” Green said. “You’re either on the value end of the barbell or the luxury end of the barbell. The luxury end is coming back because the stock market has come back for the last year. They’re starting to buy at Nieman Marcus, Saks and Nordstrom.”

Nevada’s high rate of foreclosures and unemployment doesn’t bode well for consumer spending, Retail Association of Nevada spokesman Bryan Wachter said. His organization doesn’t make projections on holiday sales within the state, relying instead on national reports.

“We can tell you that we’re optimistic that Nevada is going to track the 2.3 percent increase, but we’re wary because we didn’t make the National Retail Federation’s projection for 2009,” he said.

Brian Sozzi of Wall Street Strategies had mixed reactions to the reported 1.6 percent increase in October retail sales. It will go down as a “weird” month, he said.

“It was truly a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde month,” Sozzi said. “Mean to start the month, somewhat friendlier conclusion.”

Weather was warmer than usual in the first half of the month, which led to a continuation of soft sales from September, he said. A buying binge late in the month is the main reason retailers met or exceeded third-quarter earnings projections.

Heather Valera, marketing director for the Galleria at Sunset mall, said she thinks retailers will see a slight increase in holiday sales over last year, judging by year-to-date numbers and the first couple of weeks of November.

“We focus so much on Black Friday, this one day,” she said. “Years ago it took that one day to put retailers in the black, but what’s really happened the last few years is it’s not about one day, but the entire weekend and in a lot of cases the two weeks leading into it, and then just staying aggressive during the holiday season.”

Valera said the National Retail Federation is typically a little high with their sales projection, but she thinks a 2 percent increase is “doable” and retailers would be happy with that.

“Overall, we’ve seen traffic up and shopper morale has been positive,” Valera said. “I’m a happy marketing director right now. We’re in the best position we’ve been in for the last few years.

Don’t underestimate the power of online shopping, Sozzi said. It’s becoming a great mechanism for retailers to offer exclusive deals and ship internationally. Cyber Monday is catching up with Black Friday as one of the most concentrated holiday sales days.

DiSorbo of Webgistix said online retailers are offering all kinds of discounts and incentives, just like brick-and-mortar stores.

“They’re pushing customers to buy because they know people have their wallets open from Black Friday,” he said.

Webgistix has grown from about a dozen employees when he came here in August 2008 to 34 employees today. He recently leased an additional 24,000 square feet of warehouse space in Henderson and expects to see 50 percent to 80 percent growth next year.

“E-commerce continues to grow and we’re part of that,” he said. “From just a Vegas perspective, this is the kind of thing that helps diversify the economy and takes Las Vegas beyond gaming. We’re enabling local businesses to expand as well.”

Webgistix has about 100 customers, all online retailers, including Las Vegas-based Coffee For Less, Blue Man Group, Holly Madison and Sporting For Less.

Contact reporter Hubble Smith at or 702-383-0491.

Small businesses struggle to find qualified candidates
A 2018 survey found that over two-thirds of small businesses in Nevada find it somewhat to very difficult to recruit qualified candidates. Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal
Nevada secretary of state website offers little protection against fraudulent business filings
Property developer Andy Pham tells how control of his business was easily seized by another person using the secretary of state website.
Caesars may be going solo in its marijuana policy
Several Southern Nevada casino companies aren’t following Caesars Entertainment’s lead on marijuana testing.
How much is the Lucky Dragon worth?
Less than a year-and-a-half after it opened, the Lucky Dragon was in bankruptcy.
Gyms and discount stores take over empty retail spaces
Grocery stores used to draw people to shopping centers. But many large retail spaces have been vacant since 2008. Discount stores like goodwill and gyms like EOS Fitness are filling those empty spaces, and helping to draw shoppers back in. K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal
Funding source of Las Vegas stadium for the Raiders is sound, expert says
The stadium is funded in part by $750 million of room taxes, the biggest such tax subsidy ever for a professional sports stadium. Robert Lang, executive director of Brookings Mountain West and The Lincy Institute at UNLV, says that is a good use of public funds. (Richard Velotta/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas needs light rail, expert says
Robert Lang, executive director of Brookings Mountain West and the Lincy Institute said he is afraid of a "congestion mobility crisis." Las Vegas needs a light rail system, he said, to accommodate the city's growing number of attractions. (Richard Velotta/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Three takeaways from Wynn Resorts' Earnings Call
Matt Maddox came out swinging in his first earnings conference call as Wynn Resorts chief executive officer, boasting of record Las Vegas quarterly revenues and applicants lining up for work.
Star Wars VR Comes to Las Vegas
Sneak peak at the new "Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire" VR experience at the Grand Canal Shoppes.
Elaine Wynn continues her fight to change Wynn Resorts board
Elaine Wynn, the largest shareholder of Wynn Resorts Ltd., is seeking to kick a friend of her ex-husband Steve Wynn off the company’s board of directors. (Todd Prince/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Zillow is getting into house flipping in Las Vegas
Las Vegas Review-Journal real estate reporter Eli Segall says flipping houses has waned in popularity after the housing bubble burst.
Ellis Island Buys Mt. Charleston Lodge
Ellis Island, which operates a casino, brewery and hotel just off the Strip, purchased the Mt. Charleston Lodge in early April.
Casinos to be penalized for allowing drug-impaired customers to gamble
Nevada Gaming Commission Chairman Tony Alamo talks about an amendment making casinos subject to the same disciplinary standards of preventing people to gamble if impaired by drugs as they are for letting them play while intoxicated by alcohol.
Terrible Herbst to open large travel center in Southern Nevada
The 50,000-square-foot commercial travel center will include 96 fuel pumps and the third White Castle restaurant in Southern Nevada. Wade Tyler Millward reports.
Art Bell’s Top 10 Shows
A selection of radio host Art Bell’s most popular shows.
Hooters owner talks about room upgrades at his hotel-casino
George Ruff, founder and senior principal of Trinity Hotel Investors L.L.C., owner of Hooters Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, talks about recent room upgrades at the hotel. K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal
Passengers Discuss Allegiant Air
Allegiant Air passengers voice their views on the airline at McCarran International Airport on April 16, 2018. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Longtime Las Vegas attorney John Momot dies at age 74
Criminal defense attorney John Momot, who represented mob figures and even played himself in the movie “Casino,” has died.
Trump Slams Amazon for Not Paying Enough in Taxes
Trump Slams Amazon for Not Paying Enough in Taxes Trump tweeted his concerns about the company on Thursday. This isn't the first time Trump commented on the issues via Twitter. August 2017 December 2017 Amazon did hold back on paying state taxes in 1995, but the company has been routinely collecting state sales taxes since then. In 2016, the company's report from the Securities and Exchange Commission confirmed it paid $412 million in taxes.
David Copperfield in court after man injured during magic trick
The attorney for a British man who is suing illusionist David Copperfield said his client suffered serious injuries after being called on stage during Copperfield's show at MGM Grand.
eyecandylab CEO shows augmented reality during NAB
Robin Sho Moser, CEO and co-founder of eyecandylab gives an augmented reality demonstration at his booth during the National Association of Broadcaster Show at the Las Vegas Convention Center. K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal
Trends in access to capital for local black business owners
Denette Braud, owner of Braud’s Funnel Cake Cafe, talks about what owning her own business means to her.
Sir Richard Branson announces purchase of Hard Rock Hotel
Sir Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group, has acquired the Hard Rock Hotel with partners and plans to turn it into a Virgin-branded property by the end of 2019.
Calvary Christian Learning Academy, “There was no fair warning.”
Samantha O’Brien, whose three-year-old daughter attended the Calvary Christian Learning Academy daycare, found out Monday night when her daughter’s teacher called about the school closing.
Adobe unveils #HackTheBracket application for March Madness
Adobe unveiled their #HackTheBracket application at the Adobe Summit trade show at Sands Expo. People can use data from Adobe Analytics to make their bracket for March Madness. K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal
Adidas Signs Yankees' Star Aaron Judge
Adidas Signs New York Yankees Star Aaron Judge The slugger is set to don a new set of stripes this season after signing with the apparel company. Aaron Judge Terms of the deal were not disclosed. The deal includes branding on his batting gloves and wristbands. Judge, the AL's reigning Rookie of the Year, was previously under contract with Under Armour since 2014. Judge won the American League Rookie of the Year award last season after setting an MLB record for most homers in a rookie season (52).
Esports athletes are sponsored, too
Meet Red Bull-sponsored professional esports player Daryl S. Lewis, better known by his in-game name Snake Eyez. Nicole Raz Las Vegas Review-Journal.
Bettor Investments turned into a bad bet
Bettor Investments formerly operated a Nevada-licensed entity betting operation. The company promised “conservative growth, profits and stability for our investors.” Matt Stuart, who ran the fund, shut it down in late 2016 and never made good on an agreement with shareholders.
Starbucks Will Give You $10 Million for a Better Cup Design
Starbucks Will Give You $10 Million for a Better Cup Design Get your thinking caps on because the company is looking for a new cup that's easier to recycle. The $10 million grant challenge sees Starbucks partnering with investor group Closed Loop Partners for the project. According to CNN Money, Aside from the new cup design challenge, Starbucks stated it will test a cup with an inner lining made from plant fibers to prevent hot liquid from leaking. Will you join the challenge for #Bettercups?
Las Vegas bartenders who worked the Route 91 Harvest Music Festival question what they were paid
Reneé Black, left, and her husband Griffin Black talk to the Review-Journal at their home in Las Vegas, Tuesday, March 6, 2018. Reneé was a bartender at Route 91, and Griffin was a bar back. They were hired as independent contractors, but received forms months later indicating they were employees. They also were never paid their last day of tips. Nicole Raz/Las Vegas Review-Journal.
News Headlines
Home Front Page Footer Listing
You May Like

You May Like