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The Week Ahead: PCE inflation, consumer outlook, Nike earnings

Check out what's ahead in the consumer economy for Dec. 19-22.

The Week Ahead: PCE inflation, consumer outlook, Nike earnings

Welcome to a new week. It’s the final week before the holidays, and commerce is ready to finish 2022 strong. That means it’s time for last-minute holiday deals, and a push to get that pressing work tied up before the New Year. Economic indicators and earnings reports will provide a look at where things stand in the consumer economy right up until the end.


Brands and retailers are in the home stretch of peak season, and this year consumers are expected to show plenty of late demand as they hold out for deals. So the industry focus is all on holiday shopping this week.

Amazon’s Very Merry Deals offers a host of last-minute shopping discounts through Wednesday, Dec. 21.

Target has a host of deals and fulfillment options for the final shopping push. Same-day delivery and pickup will be available on Christmas Eve to customers who place orders before 6 p.m.

Economic Indicators

The year closes out with a flurry of economic reports that will offer the final snapshot of how conditions stand heading into 2023.

Housing Starts: The US Commerce Department offers monthly data on new home construction. This is one important predictor of demand for home and garden retailers. (Tues., Dec. 20, 8:30 a.m.)

Consumer Confidence: The Conference Board shares the results of its monthly survey on consumer outlooks and expectations on buying conditions and the economy, including inflation. This index has fallen for the last two months. (Wed., Dec. 21, 10 a.m.)

Existing Home Sales: Another metric that is watched by home goods retailers, the National Association of Realtors shares data on sales of existing homes. With interest rate increases slamming the brakes on the housing market in recent months, this will be a closely watched indicator for the whole economy. (Wed., Dec. 21, 10 a.m.)

Personal Income Expenditures: The US Bureau of Economic Analysis shares monthly data on consumer spending, incomes and prices. This is the preferred inflation measure of the Federal Reserve, so economists will be looking for more signs of cooling after last week’s Consumer Price Index slowed to 7.1%. ( Friday, Dec, 23, 8:30 a.m.)

Durable goods orders: The US Commerce Department issues its monthly report on orders from manufacturers for goods that are designed to last three years or more. (Fri., Dec. 23, 8:30 a.m.)

Consumer Sentiment: The University of Michigan Survey of Consumers issues its final report for the month on consumer views of the economy and expectations for inflation. The reading improved slightly from November to begin the month, but has remained near historic lows in the face of 40-year-high inflation. (Fri., Dec. 23, 10 a.m.)

New Home Sales: The US Commerce Department issues monthly data on sales of new homes. (Dec. 23, 8:30 a.m.)


Corporate earnings season finishes the year strong with brands and retailers that will offer a snapshot of holiday shopping results so far:

Mon., Dec. 19: Steelcase

Tuesday, Dec. 20: Nike, FedEx, General Mills

Wednesday Dec. 21: Rite Aid

Thursday, Dec. 22: Carmax

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In retail, sales are often measured in goods, whether they are purchased for ourselves or someone else. There are plenty of strategies that brands and retailers use to increase those sales, whether it is marketing, loyalty programs or how that item is presented.

In most cases, these are two different parts of the equation for retailers: The product that is bought and the strategies that lead to the purchase.

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