Economist Mike Walden: What’s Strong in Retailing?

I think there’s a tendency to lump every business in one sector into one particular category.  For example, businesses that sell directly to consumers are called retail – thus we talk about the retail sector.  But individual parts of the retail sector might be going in different directions.  Did we see that in 2017?

  1. Yes we did
  2. Some of the strongest parts of the retail sector in 2017 were related to housing – like sales of furniture, carpets, and drapes
  3. Reason – the robust housing market during the year
  4. Also especially strong were so-called “specialty stores” particularly for food and drinks
  5. Reflected the preference of Millennials and I-Gens to avoid “chains” and cater to different, unique, and unusual
  6. Last, auto and parts retailers experienced some softening of sales in 2017, but this is relative to their almost double-digit growth rates of previous years
  7. So all retail is not the same