Ecommerce outpaces overall retail sales in April
Nonstore retailers grew 8% for the year, while overall retail rose 1.6%.
Photo by David Dvořáček on Unsplash
Nonstore retailers grew 8% for the year, while overall retail rose 1.6%.
Growth of U.S. retail sales continued to slow on an annual basis in April, as more signs of a consumer slowdown reared their head. But there was a bright spot for digital businesses: The category that includes ecommerce markedly outpaced wider retail.
Data from the U.S. Commerce Department for April 2023 showed the following:
Total retail sales were $686.1 billion, up 0.4% from March 2023. This reversed a trend of declining monthly sales that was observed over the last two months.
On an annual basis, retail sales grew 1.6% from April 2022.
Core retail sales, as measured by the National Retail Federation, rose 2% year-over-year. This measure strips out auto and restaurants.
Nonstore retailers, which includes ecommerce sales, grew 8% year-over-year.
On a category level, a bifurcation is continuing to emerge between discretionary and essential categories.
There were annual declines in sales at furniture stores (-6.4%), electronics and appliance stores (-7.3%) sporting goods and hobby stores (-5.4%) and clothing stores (-2.3%).
Meanwhile, notable gains were made at health and personal care stores (+7.9%) and grocery stores (+3.7).
It’s the latest sign that consumers are tightening after months of rapidly rising prices, and increased interest rates that are starting to impact demand in key consumer spending drivers such as housing. Savings, which were robust during the pandemic, could also be in shorter supply. The retail sales data comes a day after the New York Fed reported that household debt surpassed $17 trillion for the first time in the first quarter.
NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz said that the slowing year-over-year growth came "partly because of upward revisions to last year’s data but also an early indication that credit conditions are tightening and excess savings are shrinking.” It was also driven in part by a massive 14.6% decline in gas station sales due to falling prices. As a result, April’s overall annual retail growth looks better when stripping away gas and motor vehicle-related retailers, for a growth rate of 4.3%. But that still remains more tepid than the high-single-digit range that was observed for much of 2022.
“While any growth is welcome, this was the shallowest increase in 31 months and marks a very significant deterioration compared to recent performance,” said GlobalData Managing Director Neil Saunders. “The earlier timing of Easter compared to last year may certainly have pushed a bit of spending from April into March, but the broader evidence suggests that a consumer slowdown is now firmly underway.”
Dealboard has funding and M&A updates from ecommerce aggregators and forecasting software.
This week, the aggregator space is active with M&A, IKEA is ready to roll out newly-purchased warehouse management software and Authentic Brands Group acquired a boot icon. Plus, there’s new investment to report for YouTube influencer Emma Chamberlain’s coffee brand and retail forecasting.
Here’s a look at the latest deals:
Chamberlain Coffee, the consumer brand founded by YouTube influencer Emma Chamberlain, raised $7 million in new funding.
The financing included backing from existing investors including Blazar Capital, Chamberlain and United Talent Agency. New investors include Volition Capital, Electric Feel Ventures, L.A. Libations and Noah Bremen, founder of PLTFRM.
The new funding follows the launch of a Ready-to-Drink (RTD) product and coffee pods. Previously, the brand raised a Series A in August 2022.
"Creating a uniquely inviting coffee brand has been my dream for so long now, and having key investors back us allows us to build Chamberlain Coffee in ways that feel fresh and exciting,” said Chamberlain, in a statement. “There are so many products I am eager to develop and projects I'm excited to get working on. With such an incredible team and group of investors I am more excited than ever to see what the future holds for Chamberlain Coffee."
Impact Analytics, a software company for retail supply chain and merchandise planning, raised new funding from Vistara Growth.
The new investment, the amount of which was not disclosed, comes after Impact raised funding in February 2021 and October 2022 from Argentum.
The funding will help Impact Analytics further develop its Impact Analytics SmartSuite product portfolio, which is designed to help optimize forecasting, merchandising and end-to-end lifecycle pricing. Rather than the traditional forecasting approach of basing decisions on the preceding year, Impact Analytics applies a model that includes 150 variables from internal and external sources, while combining recency and history. Clients include BJ's Wholesale Club, Dick's Sporting Goods, Puma and Tapestry.
Selva Ventures, a venture capital firm focused on consumer brands that promote healthier living, closed its second fund at $34 million, TechCrunch reported.
With the new funding, Selva will invest in brands across categories including health, wellness, beauty and personal care. The fund expects to write checks of $1-2 million in seed and Series A startups, while assisting in areas like finance, operations and retail partnerships.
Backers of the second fund include Unilever Ventures, PagsGroup and Obelysk.
Nautica and Forever 21 owner Authentic Brands Group acquired the intellectual property of Hunter, a 160-year-old British outdoor lifestyle brand known for its Wellington boots.
With the deal, ABG appointed longtime partners Batra Group and Marc Fisher to execute retail and ecommerce operations, as well as continue to expand the brand in the UK and U.S., respectively.
“At the intersection of fashion and outdoor, Hunter introduces another elevated global brand to Authentic’s diverse Lifestyle portfolio,” said Authentic CEO Jamie Salter, in a statement.
Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
The investment arm of IKEA parent Ingka Group acquired the warehouse management software platform Made4Net.
As a result of the deal, Made4Net’s software will be deployed across IKEA’s 482 stores and fulfillment centers. Made4Net will continue to operate as an independent subsidiary of Ingka, with a headquarters in New Jersey. CEO Duff Davidson will remain at the helm of the company.
“Our business currently requires a better fulfillment operations system with more accurate data that better supports handling for our customers,” said Tolga Öncu, head of retail at Ingka Group, in a statement. “Our goal is to become leaders of life at home, serving more people in an omnichannel reality, whenever and however customers choose to meet us.”
European ecommerce aggregator SellerX acquired Elevate Brands, a U.S.-based aggregator.
The combined companies will be known as SellerX Group. It will comprise a portfolio that includes 80 Amazon-native private label consumer brands in categories including sports and outdoors, home, mobile accessories, pets and consumables. The portfolio will span over 40,000 products.
With the deal, SellerX Co-CEOs Philipp Triebel and Malte Horeyseck will lead SellerX Group, while Elevate Brands cofounders Ryan Gnesin, Jeremy Bell and Robert Bell will remain in key leadership positions.
“This acquisition combines our know-how and diversified portfolios of strong brands with a market-leading technology platform and strong operational infrastructure,” said Triebel, in a statement. “By leveraging our combined strengths, I am convinced we are well-positioned to drive further consolidation in the industry.”
Ecommerce aggregator Society Brands acquired Wolf Tactical, a tactical gear company.
Founded in 2017 by Tim Wu, Wolf Tactical makes products including DC belts, range belts to weighted vest and tactical backpacks.
"I started Wolf Tactical by myself as a side hustle with very limited knowledge of business and entrepreneurship. A combination of hard work and relentless learning allowed me to build it into a multi-million-dollar business," said Wu who will remain as brand president, in a statement. "With the help of Society Brands, I have access to untapped potential that I would not be able to achieve by myself.”