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Welcome to a new week. It’s time to get the holiday season underway. But before those promotions start lighting up inboxes, America will be taking a moment to gather with family and friends, share a meal and remember what they are thankful for. While it's easy for a brand and retail leaders' mind to be elsewhere on Thanksgiving, remember to set aside time for the people you care about and each other this week. It’ll go a long way toward making the sprint of the next month seem worth it.
Black Friday: Let the holiday shopping season (officially) begin. After months of preparation, brands and retailers ranging from Amazon and Target down to the newest DTC brands will roll out their best promotions and latest upgrades to the shopping experience as peak season gets underway. Thanksgiving weekend is expected to draw 166.3 million shoppers, the National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights forecasts. It is expected to be an exceptionally promotional holiday season, as shoppers put a priority on savings at a time when inflation is cutting into consumers’ discretionary dollars. Nov. 25
Small Business Saturday: Shopping local will be in focus as the shopping landscape of Thanksgiving weekend is fully digested. That doesn’t just have to include buying gifts from the store down the street. It could mean ordering from your favorite local store in another town, or simply shopping online through a marketplace like Etsy or at a direct-to-consumer brand’s store. It could also mean checking in with a favorite creator. This year, TikTok partnered with American Express to launch the #ShopSmall Accelerator, providing resources to help reach Gen Z shoppers. Nov. 26
Durable goods orders: The US Commerce Department releases October data on goods ordered from manufacturers that are designed to last more than three years. This offers one snapshot of demand in the economy, as willingness to place orders for durable goods is typically a sign of confidence among businesses and consumers. Nov. 23, 8:30 a.m.
Consumer sentiment: The University of Michigan offers its final look for November at the buying moods and expectations of consumers across the United States, including a look at their inflation outlook. After clawing back gains from an all-time low in June, sentiment dipped down to a five-month low to start this month. This will serve as a preview to shopper feelings heading into the holiday season. Nov. 23, 10 a.m.
New home sales: The US Commerce Department releases monthly data on new homes that were sold in October. The housing market is being closely watched at a time when the Federal Reserve is hiking interest rates, and this is a metric that is always followed by home and garden brands and retailers as an indicator of demand. Nov. 23, 10 a.m.
Retail earnings reports for the third quarter roll on in a shortened market week due to the Thanksgiving holiday.
- Monday, Sept. 21: JM Smucker
- Tuesday, Sept. 22: Nordstrom, American Eagle Outfitters, Abercrombie & Fitch, Best Buy, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Guess
- Thursday, Sept. 24: Pindududo (China)
Trending in Economy
Campbell Soup Company CEO Mark Clouse offered thoughts on messaging amid inflationary shifts in consumer behavior.
After months of elevated inflation and interest rate hikes that have the potential to cool demand, consumers are showing more signs of shifting behavior.
It’s showing up in retail sales data, but there’s also evidence in the observations of the brands responsible for grocery store staples.
The latest example came this week from Campbell Soup Company. CEO Mark Clouse told analysts that the consumer continues to be “resilient” despite continued price increases on food, but found that “consumers are beginning to feel that pressure” as time goes on.
This shows up in the categories they are buying. Overall, Clouse said Campbell sees a shift toward shelf-stable items, and away from more expensive prepared foods.
There is also change in when they make purchases. People are buying more at the beginning of the month. That’s because they are stretching paychecks as long as possible.
These shifts change how the company is communicating with consumers.
Clouse said the changes in behavior are an opportunity to “focus on value within our messaging without necessarily having to chase pricing all the way down.”
“No question that it's important that we protect affordability and that we make that relevant in the categories that we're in," Clouse said. "But I also think there's a lot of ways to frame value in different ways, right?”
A meal cooked with condensed soup may be cheaper than picking up a frozen item or ordering out. Consumers just need a reminder. Even within Campbell’s own portfolio, the company can elevate brands that have more value now, even if they may not always get the limelight.
The open question is whether the shift in behavior will begin to show up in the results of the companies that have raised prices. Campbell’s overall net sales grew 5% for the quarter ended April 30, while gross profit margins held steady around 30%. But the category-level results were more uneven. U.S. soup sales declined 11%, though the company said that was owed to comparisons with the quarter when supply chains reopened a year ago and expressed confidence that the category is seeing a longer-term resurgence as more people cook at home following the pandemic. Snacks, which includes Goldfish and Pepperidge Farm, were up 12% And while net sales increased overall, the amount of products people are buying is declining. Volumes were down 7%.
These are trends happening across the grocery store. Campbell is continuing to compete. It is leading with iconic brands, and a host of different ways to consume them. It is following that up with innovation that makes the products stand out. Then, it is driving home messaging that shows consumers how to fit the products into their lives, and even their tightening spending plans.
Campbell Soup is more than 150 years old, and has seen plenty of difficult economic environments. It is also a different business today, and will continue to evolve. At the end of the day, continued execution is what’s required.
“If it's good food, people are going to buy it, especially if it's a great value,” Clouse said.