Holiday Shopping Is Starting Early. Don’t Be Fooled: Dump Department-Store Stocks Soon.

Bloomingdale’s flagship department store in Manhattan. The chain is owned by Macy’s, whose stock is down 56% this year.


Nina Westervelt/Bloomberg

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Santa’s not a smoker, as far as I know. But he’s old, and his belly shakes when he laughs “like a bowl full of jelly,” according to one poem. Those are risk factors for Covid-19, so I suppose it was inevitable that

Macy’s

said this past week that the bearded gift-giver wouldn’t sit with children at any of its stores for the first time in 159 years.

That’s as good a signal as any for investors who own shares of retailers to contemplate the spending implications of a socially distant Christmas. If a new forecast from UBS has it right, things will look jolly at first, until they don’t, which might provide a selling opportunity in November.

The good news: Retail sales picked up smartly in September, the latest reported month. Joblessness remains high, but many who are working have money to spend, after months of forgoing family trips and meals out.

The National Retail Federation says it is “cautiously optimistic” about fourth-quarter sales, which is like a cheerleading squad that gets the crowd chanting m-a-y-b-e. But UBS analyst Jay Sole published a report this past week predicting that U.S. holiday sales will fall 10% to 12% year over year. If that’s right, depressed store stocks could have further to slide later this year.

The prediction refers specifically to so-called softline goods, like clothing and accessories, not hardlines, like electronics and appliances. It’s based in part on surveys of U.S. shopper intentions. This year, 41% said the economy would affect their holiday spending versus 28% last year. That’s the biggest change since the global financial crisis more than a decade ago. The numbers suggest big shifts toward online shopping and away from department stores, and with fewer customers paying online and then picking goods up in stores.

There is a sharp increase in the number of shoppers who say they will start their holiday shopping by Nov. 1. “Our guess is this demand ‘pull-forward’ will cause early holiday season reads to look good,” Sole writes. “However, we think once retailers start to lap big shopping weeks near Thanksgiving, real-time indicators will weaken, causing stocks to react negatively.” Sole is most bearish on department stores Macy’s (ticker: M),

Nordstrom

(JWN), and

Kohl’s

(KSS). But he’s bullish on brands that can “go it alone” without department stores, like

Levi Strauss

(LEVI),

Nike

(NKE), and

Skechers USA

(SKX).

There are a few big unknowns. The U.S. is experiencing a third major surge in Covid-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths. If that trend continues through Christmas, then, well, on Donner, on Blitzen, we’re all in deep you-know-whatzen. Also, part of a summer lift in consumer spending was owed to government stimulus programs to help the needy and support the economy.

We are likely to get more stimulus after the Nov. 3 election, once political calculations subside, because there are no deficit hawks

Make Someone’s Day This Holiday Season With This Lotus Biscoff Gift Basket From Etsy

Photo credit: Etsy/MillerCoGifts
Photo credit: Etsy/MillerCoGifts

From Delish

To know Biscoff cookies is to love them, and for the ultimate fan of the flavorful and sweet treat there is an Etsy shop that sells gift baskets with every Biscoff product you can imagine. Whether you’re looking for a holiday gift, housewarming present, or a simple “thinking of you” package, nothing says “I love you” more than all the best Biscoff items out there.

The basket by MillerCoGifts includes a large pack of caramelized biscuits, a large pack of milk chocolate biscuits, two travel packs, either smooth or crunchy Biscoff spread, two Biscoff & Go packgs, and four individually wrapped biscuits. The Biscoff & Go packs include mini bread sticks and Biscoff spread for dipping—think of them as fancy Dunakroos.

All of these items come carefully wrapped together and can be purchased for just $32.79. It’s one of the best-selling items at the MillerCoGifts Etsy shop, and the reviews rave about just how much time is put into the gift wrapping making each box extra special.

“The gift box is Lotus Biscoff heaven! I ordered one for a gift to my sister and also received one myself. It is really well packaged and a great selection of items. Also the hand written note is a lovely addition. Really quick delivery too,” one reviewer wrote.

MillerCoGifts also offers substitutions if you’re sending the basket to someone with a dairy allergy or dietary preference. The chocolate Biscoff biscuits include milk so can be traded for more of the caramelized biscuits if needed. This might be the easiest thing you can buy to make someone’s day this holiday season. Biscoff makes everything better.

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Dallas consumers say holiday shopping in 2020 is going to be different. Here’s how

Dallas shoppers — and retailers — say they’re taking a more “human approach” to holiday shopping this year.

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They’re spending less but spending local, and many say they’re staying home and shipping gifts to friends and family. Local shoppers are more likely than overall U.S. shoppers to support Black-owned businesses and ones that support the Black Lives Matter movement.

Dallas residents plan to spend an average of $587 on purchases, down 12% from last year but higher than the U.S. average of $539, which represents a 15% decrease from a year ago, a recent Accenture survey said.

COVID-19 restrictions have made it a difficult year. Only 7% of shoppers — both in the U.S. and Dallas — said they’re ready to “celebrate and spend.” Others point to the pandemic as the reason they expect to have fewer occasions to spend.

A separate survey of Dallas shoppers from Deloitte that covers total spending for the holidays also forecast a decline. In the Deloitte survey, which includes entertaining and non-gift purchases such as holiday decorations, consumers said they will spend $1,655 on the holidays. That’s 16% higher than the national average, but it’s 10% below what Dallas shoppers said they planned to spend in 2019.

More than two-thirds of Dallas residents (68%) plan to stay at home and practice social distancing for the holidays, according to the Accenture results. And 58% said they will ship gifts to the family and friends they won’t be seeing.

New national pastime

Americans aren’t finished upgrading their homes, which has become the new national pastime since the pandemic started in the spring. This holiday season, 41% of Dallas residents surveyed by Accenture in September said they plan to spend money on home improvements, including décor and furniture.

Overall, the respondents who said they plan to spend less this year said it’s because of the pandemic. They won’t be celebrating the same way they did last year and won’t be spending as much, or at all, on entertainment and travel. Others said their “financial security” has become more uncertain.

On the flip side, 38% of Dallas shoppers said they are optimistic about their financial situation heading into the holiday season. And 57% of Dallas respondents said they plan to splurge a bit on luxury purchases for themselves and others compared with 51% nationwide.

Nonessential retailers had to close in March, and when they reopened in May, there was a movement to support local retailers. That remains true for the holidays, said Lori Zumwinkle, North America retail practice lead for Accenture.

“More people realized the role local businesses play in the community and that they want them to still be around,” she said.

Online and deliveries

Many local retailers have created or improved their online shopping capabilities during the pandemic and developed curbside services and same-day delivery, just as the big retailers and restaurants did. Some are even using services that specialize in delivering groceries and restaurant meals.

Jewelry retailer Kendra Scott formed a partnership with

21 Cute and Cozy Family Christmas Pajamas from Amazon’s New Holiday Gift Guide

Amazon

It’s been a weird year, which is why we’re taking the opportunity to spark some joy and get ahead of our holiday shopping now. Luckily, Amazon has already released plenty of holiday gift guides to help steer us in the right direction and make gift shopping as easy as possible.

One gift guide we’re especially excited about? Amazon’s Pajamas for All selection, which is full of adorable Christmas-themed pajamas for families, men, women, and children (with some matching pet pajamas included as well). So whether you’re looking to scoop up some matching family Christmas pajamas for your annual holiday greeting card or gift your loved ones the cutest reindeer-printed onesies, you won’t go wrong with this fabulous assortment of comfy and cozy jammies.

RELATED: 30 Can’t-Go-Wrong Presents from Amazon’s New Home Gift Guide

Because we’re so excited to fill our Amazon shopping carts (and know you are, too), we picked out 21 of the best Christmas pajamas for families, men, women, children, and babies that we can’t wait to shop below. From these Burt’s Bees Organic Cotton Holiday Matching Pajamas in a festive Fair Isle print, which start at just $7, to these classic plaid fleece matching sets from PajamaGram that start at only $20, you’re sure to find something you love for everyone on your gift list.

Scroll down to check out our top family Christmas pajamas and more available from Amazon’s Holiday Pajamas Gift Guide now.

Amazon

Best Family Christmas Pajamas

Amazon

Best Women’s Christmas Pajamas

Amazon

Best Men’s Christmas Pajamas

Amazon

Best Children’s Christmas Pajamas

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Jack Black Holiday Gift Sets Now on Amazon (2020)

Jack Black Gift Sets


Jack Black

When it comes to premium men’s skincare, one company has set the standard – Jack Black. Loved by men, (and frequently borrowed by the women in their lives,) their superior products promise and deliver luscious lips, younger-looking skin, seriously shiny hair, and a refreshingly scented body. Even better, they’re always dermatologist tested, paraben-free, cruelty-free, and most are vegan and safe for even the most sensitive skin.

This year, they’ve introduced some seriously great Jack Black gift sets that are worthy options for all the men on your Christmas list. Admittedly, when the box of samples they sent was opened at our house, there was a bit of a friendly tussle as to just which one of us would get to try what – and with good reason.

These sets are filled with all the most popular products from Jack Black, as well as some limited edition offerings that you’ll only find for the holiday season. While I managed to snag a few samples for my own use, my husband would unequivocally tell you to grab these great sets right now while they’re still available on Amazon, because he’s been sudsing, shampooing, shaving, and slathering with abandon since they got here!

Jack Black – Jack’s Most Wanted

men's skincare gift setmen's skincare gift set

Jack BlackJack’s Most Wanted

Every guy loves a great dopp kit, but when it’s filled with all his favorite Jack Black skincare products, it’ll be a gift your man uses every day. The Jack’s Most Wanted set includes a branded travel bag created with recycled, vegan, cruelty-free materials. The hanging loop, plus zippered internal and external pockets make it super functional, but what’s best is what he’ll find inside – Pure Clean Daily Facial Cleanser to tackle deep-down man dirt and make his face shave ready; Double-Duty Face Moisturizer SPF 20 – a clean, lightweight moisturizer that doubles as a sunscreen; Black Reserve Body & Hair Cleanser – a cardamom, and red cedar scented wash that’s sexy and masculine, and Black Reserve Body Lotion – an olive oil and shea butter blend that will leave his skin totally touchable (and sniffable, too!)

This awesome set has a value of nearly a hundred bucks, but you can get it while it lasts for just $65.

Buy the Jack’s Most Wanted Gift Set

Jack Black – The Balm Squad

Jack Black gift setJack Black gift set

Jack BlackThe Balm Squad

With winter well on its way, so is the season of dry chapped lips. When you’re shopping for the guy who doesn’t want to look like he just ate a greasy pork chop, but still wants healing hydration for his kisser, The Balm Squad is an ideal gift set that is the perfect stocking stuffer.

This set includes four full-size lip balms filled with full-spectrum UV protection, plus antioxidants, nourishing shea butter and olive oil, as well as green tea and vitamin E. With old favorites like mint and shea butter, this set includes two new limited-edition flavors – Vanilla Bourbon (seriously great!) and Mango Chili Lime.

Don’t worry,

Shipping expert: Start online holiday shopping now

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) — Although Christmas is two months away, online retailers and the companies that ship their products are overwhelmed because the pandemic has caused an increase in online purchasing.

A local expert in supply chain logistics and shipping suggests you start your online holiday shopping right now.

“Given that we’re in a pandemic and we’re already seeing these increasing trends of online shopping, it should be very interesting to see both how retailers and shippers handle it this Christmas,” Tim Kraft told ABC 11.

Kraft is an associate professor at North Carolina State University and studies supply chain logistics.

It’s a subject many of us became familiar with when we had trouble finding toilet paper.

“The pandemic really has been kind of supply chain’s moment to be honest. I’ve had many relatives all of a sudden realize and start to understand what I actually do,” said Kraft.

Many in the online shopping world were anticipating the busiest holiday season yet in 2020, after Christmas 2019.

But they didn’t anticipate the pandemic.

Kraft said online shopping stats are incredible.

“I’ve seen recent numbers that the increase in sales to this time last year is 40% higher this year as compared to last year.”

And while delivery times don’t seem that bad right now, Kraft noted that each day closer to the holidays will mean an exponential increase in shipping volumes.

“The system currently is already overwhelmed. So once we get to the holiday season, this could be, I think, for shippers in particular, you’re going to see a real stress on their system,” he said, “I think any consumer that’s planning to do online shopping, I actually would highly recommend that they start now.”

Shipping companies traditionally hire temporary workers for the holidays.

But Kraft said, they’ve already ramped up to those employment levels because of the pandemic.

“These demand levels we’re seeing are so high that there’s no amount of temp labor that you can throw at it because the facilities and the trucks and the planes and the equipment, that’s really what’s becoming the bottleneck. And there’s only so much demand that we can run through these facilities or ship out on these trucks.”

Thanks to the pandemic, there’s likely more than the usual amount of stress this holiday season.

Don’t add to that by waiting to order gifts online.

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Holiday Gift Guide 2020 – TechRepublic

Finding the perfect gifts can be a challenge, so let us help you. Check out these holiday gift ideas for iPhone or Android users, coworkers, amateur astronomers, adventurers, and more.

istock-1020963704.jpg

Image: Amazon

Shopping for the holidays can be stressful, but it doesn’t have to be. With so many options available online, it’s easier than ever to find what you’re looking for and get everyone marked off your list. Consider the gift guides and shopping tips listed below to help make your 2020 holiday season the smoothest one yet. This article will be updated as more holiday gift guides are available. 

TechRepublic’s holiday gift guides for 2020

Best tablets to give as holiday gifts in 2020
These tablets from Apple, Microsoft, Samsung, Amazon, and Lenovo are sure to satisfy anyone on your gift list this holiday season.

12 great gift ideas for Raspberry Pi fans in 2020
Check out our selection of stocking fillers and gift ideas for the Raspberry Pi fan in your life for the coming festive season.

Best mobile accessories gifts in 2020: Wireless chargers, iPhone cases, smartwatch bands, and more
This gift guide features cool and handy accessories for smartphones, smartwatches, and laptops.

Holiday gift guide for coworkers
Check out these holiday gifts even the pickiest coworker will enjoy.

T-shirt gift ideas for techies
A funny shirt is an ideal holiday present for the person who is impossible to buy for or already has everything they want.

Holiday techie/STEM gifts for kids and teens
The fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics are fundamental to a wide range of education avenues. Here are 8 of the top STEM gifts for kids to promote hands-on learning opportunities.

Holiday tech splurge gift ideas
From ebikes and work pods to designer AirPods cases and portable drive-in movie theaters, these tech items are worth the splurge.

Best tech gifts for coworkers in 2020
Check out these holiday gifts even the pickiest coworker will enjoy.

Best mobility gifts in 2020
If you’re at a loss for what to buy your on-the-go friend or loved one, start with this handy list and let your imagination be inspired.

Great holiday tech gifts for under $100
Here’s a look at some of the best tech-related gifts available now for less than $100, often the budget for close coworkers and good friends.

Best laptops to give as holiday gifts this season
With options from Apple, Dell, Acer, and more, you’ll find the best laptop to fit your gift-giving needs.

Great tech gifts for traveler safety and comfort
Some people may limit how much they’re traveling now, but lockdown has likely sent many jonesing for plane, train or automobile travel, so take the occasion to gift items for an anticipated venture.

Holiday tech gifts for under $25
Not everything in today’s tech has to cost a fortune, and there are plenty of great tech-related gifts for those on a budget, or for those who find their holiday list expanding.

Best holiday gifts for Apple fans in 2020

Google Adds Shopping Tools To Push Holiday Deals

As the pandemic continues to move shopping online, Google is adding new tools to make its Shopping tab more competitive and robust so users will know they’re getting the best deals.

“When looking for competitively priced products, 40 percent of global shoppers say they turn to Google to find the best deal,”  Bill Ready, Google’s president of commerce, said in a blog post on Thursday (Oct. 22).

New features being added to Google Shopping include price tracking across online and local merchants, curbside and in-store pickup availability, price insights, purchasing options and deal notifications. Integration with Google Lens will help buyers find products similar to what they have or like something they found online.

The new features will also help merchants attract more attention to their deals, reach new people and meet shoppers’ demands. Google said that approvals will be faster for the holiday season and new seller tools will help merchants derive meaning from collected data.

“Running promotions on Google helped us exponentially grow demand and ROI,” Emily Kulcyk, manager of search marketing for Urban Outfitters, said in the blog post. “The faster approval times also drove sales volume for our flash sales because we didn’t miss a portion of the day awaiting review.”

Merchants and product promotions will also be discoverable in more locations across Google. Products being promoted will appear in free lists and on ads in the Shopping tab.

“This means that your promotions will show up in more places, helping you connect with potential customers regardless of whether you advertise with us or not,” Ready said.

Merchants can get in front of potential new local and international customers by opting-in to free listings. According to Google, 58 percent of U.S. shoppers in the last holiday season purchased at least one new brand that they had never bought previously.

Verified U.S. retailers can also connect their online stores to their Google business pages to make it easier for local shoppers to place holiday orders. Other tools for merchants include customer optimization, new layouts and displays, and video uploads.

In August, Google teamed with the UPS-owned Ware2Go to speed up shipping times. Google said retailers promoting free and fast shipping saw a 9 percent boost in overall conversion rates.

Google Shopping first started expanding with more tools and features in 2017, including showing buying guides for broad categories and adding more information for specific product searches.

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NEW PYMNTS DATA: HOW WE SHOP – SEPTEMBER 2020

The How We Shop Report, a PYMNTS collaboration with PayPal, aims to understand how consumers of all ages and incomes are shifting to shopping and paying online in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Our research builds on a series of studies conducted since March, surveying more than 16,000 consumers on how their shopping habits and payments preferences are changing as the crisis continues. This report focuses

Need a holiday gift guide? Amazon just made it easy to find the best gifts this year

Amazon Holiday Gift Shopping Guides

Amazon is jumping headfirst into the holiday shopping season this year, offering complete holiday gift shopping guides – some of which include early Black Friday deals on electronics, smart home, clothing, toys, and more.

As you shop this year for the best Christmas gifts for friends and family, you may be doing so under a tighter budget than previous years. Amazon’s holiday gift shopping guides are a great source of inspiration for those holiday shopping on a budget, with  holiday deals available on hundreds of products through the season.

Each guide gives excellent insight into what people have been after this year, providing a simple and quick way to navigate through this years hottest gift ideas. You can jump straight to each of Amazon’s Holiday Gift Guides with the quick nav menu, or you can keep on scrolling to see some of the best holiday gift ideas and deals.

You can go straight to each of Amazon’s Holiday Gift Guides with the links below, or you can read on to see our choices for the best gift ideas and early Black Friday deals of each guide.

Amazon holiday gift guides: home

Amazon’s Home Holiday Gift Guide is a must-see for shoppers prepping for the holidays. You’ll find gift ideas and offers on appliances, furniture, smart home tech, pet products, home decor, and so much more.

Great gift ideas are front and center including the ever popular iRobot Roomba i3+ robot vacuum, as well as more traditional gifts such as these Rachael Ray cookware sets. You’ll also find a great selection of pet products, offers, and gift ideas to choose from for shoppers looking to include their furry friends this holiday season.

The home holiday gift guide features way more categories to browse through, all of which you can check out through the link below. We’ve also listed some the most popular categories below if you’re looking for something specific.  

  • 🐾 Pet Products: pet treats, toys, bedding
  • 🌐 Smart Home: smart cameras, video doorbells, robot vacuums
  • 🛋️ Furniture: mattresses, chairs, couches
  • 🧹 Floor Care: robo vacs, small appliances, floor care
  • 🏠 Home Improvement: indoor and outdoor tools, hardware, home electronics
  • 🏋️ Home Fitness: fitness watches, home workout equipment, workout clothing

Amazon holiday gift guides: electronics

The ultimate one-stop shop for all things tech related, Amazon’s Electronics Holiday Gift Guide has it all for gift shoppers in need of the latest gadgets. Find the latest gift ideas on everything from headphones and audio accessories, drones, work and gaming laptops, and more.

Amazon’s guide also features an entire section dedicated to gaming hardware, including all-in-one VR setups, desktop PC hardware, and gaming gear. Everything from GeForce graphics cards to Xbox accessories are covered in this section, bringing all of the best gaming gift ideas and offers to one place. 

The electronics holiday gift guide is way more expansive with complete guides and offers around headphones, video games, smart tech, and other gifts

Target to offer shopping reservations to beat the holiday crowds

MINNEAPOLIS (NEXSTAR) – As part of Target’s new safety measures, the company announced Thursday it will be offering shopping reservations for the holidays, among other changes.

“To ensure guests have enough space to shop safely and comfortably, Target continues to monitor and, when needed, limit the total number of people inside stores at one time,” according to a news release. “This holiday, guests can visit Target.com/line to see if there is a line outside their local store, and if so, can reserve a spot in line.”

Target will text shoppers to notify them when it is their turn to enter the store.

“As we’ve navigated the pandemic, that focus has evolved to ensure we’re also creating the safest place for our guests to shop,” said Target CEO Brian Cornell. “As we approach the holidays, guests can feel confident in choosing Target – a safe experience, incredible value, and a differentiated assortment that will help them celebrate the joy of the season.”

Target is also rolling out Wallet, a mobile payment option that will allow for “a contactless self-checkout experience” and MyCheckout, which allows employees to help shoppers check out anywhere in the store.

Target is also enhancing the company’s same-day services by doubling drive-up spots, eliminating barcode scanning during drive-up for an app code, allowing more flexibility for order pickups and expanding same-day services.

See more on Target’s website.

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