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Welcome to a new week. Black Friday may be starting early this year, but don't forget Halloween. Americans are ready to do the time warp, statistically speaking. Spooky season participation rates are expected to be back to 2019 levels, according to the National Retail Federation. While many can agree on their love of frights, favorite candy is a matter of regional preference. According to Instacart, Eastern states tend to prefer peanut M&Ms and Twizzlers, while Western states tend toward Reese's Peanut Butter Cups and Red Vines. Digital shelves are being stocked accordingly.
Here's a look at what's on the schedule in ecommerce and retail this week:
Here’s where retail, ecommerce and CPG leaders are gathering this week:
DTCx Retain: Direct-to-consumer leaders gather in LA for three days of learning from founders, hands-on workshops and giveaways. Keynotes and panel discussions will feature leaders from LOVE Wellness, Gorgias, True Classic Tees, Klaviyo, Liquid Death and more. Virtual attendance available. Oct. 19-21
Supply Chain Visibility Summit: GSI US presents a virtual event to educate industry leaders on gaining visibility into digital supply chains. Topics include: Creating greater efficiencies and resilience, strengthening trading partner relationships and acquiring new customers. Oct. 20, 1-3:30 p.m. EST.
Modern Retail DTC Summit: What does DTC marketing look like in a changed landscape? That's the question that will be explored in Miami by leaders of Stitch Fix, Levi's, Poppi and more. Follow along at the Modern Retail Twitter account for takeaways. Oct. 17-19
Path to Purchase Institute Live: Top brands and retailers like Kroger, Mondelez and General Mills gather in Chicago. The event features curated sessions, an expo showcase, networking and more. Focus topics include retail media, BevAlc, omnishopper and more. Oct. 18-20
The focus of this week's data on the economy turns to housing. This is a key area both for the home goods industry, and the consumer economy as a whole at a time when the Federal Reserve is making moves to cool demand to bring down inflation. Last month, Chairman Jerome Powell said that the housing market will likely need a “correction” to get supply and demand back into balance.
- New residential construction will be reported by the US Commerce Department. Wed., Oct. 19, 8:30 a.m.
- Existing home sales will be reported by the National Association of Realtors. Thurs., Oct. 20, 10 a.m.
Third quarter earnings season swings into full gear with a number of bellwether brands in consumer goods, tech and more. Here’s a look at reporting companies relevant for ecommerce and retail:
- Mon., Oct. 17: Bank of America
- Tues., Oct. 18: Netflix, Albertsons, Johnson & Johnson, Hasbro, Omnicom
- Wed., Oct. 19: Procter & Gamble, Tesla, Prologis
- Thurs., Oct 20: Snap
- Fri., Oct 21: American Express, Verizon, Simply Good Foods
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.