Entries in National Retail Federation (10)


Top Halloween Costumes: Witches, Princesses and Pumpkins

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Every Halloween, people marvel at all of the new and imaginative costumes they see on their doorsteps, in parades and at parties.  And yet, when it comes right down to it, the most popular Halloween disguises each year remain witches, vampires, princesses and Batman.

Here are the National Retail Federation’s 2012 Top Costumes for adults, kids and pets with an overall price tag of $3 billion for humans and $370 million for pets:

Top Adult Costumes
1. Witch
2. Vampire
3. Pirate
4. Batman character
5. Zombie
6. Vixen
7. Princess
8. Ghost (tie)
8. Nurse (tie)
9. Cat
10. Superman

Top Children’s Costumes
1. Princess
2. Batman
3. Spiderman
4. Witch
5. Disney princess
6. Action/super Hero
7. Pirate
8. Vampire
9. Zombie
10. Ghost

Top Pet Costumes
1. Pumpkin
2. Devil
3. Hot dog
4. Cat
5. Bee
6. Dog (tie)
6. Ghost (tie)
7. Action/Super Hero
8. Witch
9. Bowties/Fancy Collars/Bandanas
10. Superman

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


What Are The Most Shoplifted Items?

Hemera/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- No retailer is safe when it comes to the pesky five-finger discount. Retail crime is now a bigger problem than ever, according to a new survey released by the National Retail Federation.

A whopping 96 percent of companies claim they’ve been the victim of theft in the past year, up from 94.5 percent last year.

“Criminals have become more desperate and brazen in their efforts, stopping at nothing to get their hands on large quantities of merchandise,” NRF vice president of loss prevention, Rich Mellor, said in the report.

Criminals go after the goods they can sell for near-retail price, the NRF found.

So what are these highly-desired, most stolen items? Bandits are taking off with electronic toothbrushes, high-end vacuums and infant formula.

A few products are new to this year’s list, including KitchenAid mixers, educational toys and games, GPS units and laundry detergent.

Jeans continue to be one of the most stolen items year after year.

And you might be surprised to learn how cleverly organized these retail crime gangs actually are — think a toned-down version of Clooney and Pitt in Ocean’s Eleven. To pull off the heist, the team of bandits rely on hand signals, cell phones, GPS devices and comprehensive shopping lists and have “tools of the trade,” which include foil-lined shopping bags, purses, boxes and signal jammers to defeat inventory control tags.

The top 10 most affected cities are Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Phoenix, San Francisco and Washington D.C., according to the report. 

Here is the full list of goods thieves grab the most:

Energy drinks
High-end liquor
Infant formula

Over-the-Counter Medicine
Allergy medicine
Diabetic testing strips
Pain relievers
Weight loss pills

Health and Beauty
Electric toothbrushes & replacement heads
Lotions and creams
Pregnancy tests

Denim jeans
Designer clothing/denim


Cell Phones
Digital cameras
Digital recorders
GPS devices
LCD monitors & televisions


High-end vacuums
KitchenAid mixers

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Report: Americans to Spend Almost $5 Billion on Graduation Gifts

Comstock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Never mind the diploma, where’s my gift?

With college and high school graduates earning that sheepskin, comes the best part of graduation, namely, the present from mom and dad. According to National Retail Federation’s 2012 Graduation Survey, about $4.7 billion will be spent on a job well done this year.

While that might sound like a lot, consider that the student loan debt in the U.S. has surpassed $1 trillion. That’s more than 200 times the cost of those gifts for grads in 2012.

In any case, the average spent on grads this year will be around $99.94 slightly more than what they got in 2007 but substantially better than the five-year low of $88.01 in 2009, during the height of the recession.

Of those giving money, which is the most popular gift, six in ten say it will come in the form of cash while 40 percent will hand out gift cards. Other favorites include clothes and electronics.

The most generous gift-givers are folks who live in the Northeast, earn over 50 grand or are between the ages of 45-to-54.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


National Retail Federation Ups its Forecast for Holiday Sales

Tim Boyle/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The National Retail Federation (NRF) raised its holiday forecast Thursday morning, expecting sales to increase 3.8 percent to compared with last year.

The initial forecast, which was made in October, called for a 2.8 percent gain.

"After strong sales reports in October and November, along with a successful Black Friday weekend, retailers are cautiously optimistic that this season will turn out better than initially expected, bringing added stability to our recovering economy at a time when America needs it most,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said.

The increase was also fueled by a recent NRF survey that found that the average American had only completed 46.5 percent of his or her holiday shopping as of the second week of December -- an indication that consumers will still be heading out to stores.

Yet, Shay warns that "a number of factors, including the debt crisis in Europe and continued political wrangling in Washington, could impact consumer spending this holiday season and into 2012."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Valentine's Day Spending Expected to Be Up in 2011, NRF Says

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- After cutting back on spending in recent years, a recent survey released by the National Retail Federation called the 2011 Valentine's Day Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey predicts that the average person will spend $116.21 -- up 11 percent from last year's $103 -- on "traditional Valentine's Day merchandise" in 2011.  Total Valentine's Day spending is expected to reach $15.7 billion.

"Having surpassed expectations during the holiday season, it seems consumers are not done spending on gifts, which bodes well for the economy," NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said in a statement. 

Shay added that retailers should receive a "nice boost" in candy, jewelry and apparel sales during the typically slow months of January and February.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio 


Chaos at the Mall as Post-Holiday Shopping Season Begins

Image Courtesy - ABC News(NEW YORK) -- Even before Christmas Day was over, the post-holiday push was under way. Retailers spent Christmas blitzing shoppers with email, desperate to keep a good thing going.

If sales continue to be strong over the next week, this holiday shopping season could be the best ever, despite the bad economy. Americans in 2007 spent a record $453 billion on holiday shopping. After a two-year dip, the numbers this year are creeping back.

The National Retail Federation predicts seasonal sales will top $451 billion dollars – a jump of more than 3 percent over last year.

So what’s the best strategy for post-Christmas shopping? Experts say consumers should check the web before checking the stores. Shoppers have spent more than $36 billion buying online this season, driven by discounts and free shipping – offers that continue this week, meaning you may not even have to brave the stores to get the best deal.

Getting people into the stores over the next few days is a big concern for retailers. Analysts are worried that bad weather across the country could keep people away and seriously impact stores’ bottom lines as retailers close out their holiday shopping seasons.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Record Season for Holiday Shopping?

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Believe it or not, this holiday shopping season could be one for the record books.

"We're seeing that the consumer really has a bit of strength left,” said Kamalesh Rao, director of economic research for MasterCard Advisors’ SpendingPulse. “People are still going still out and spending on discretionary things.  On things they don't necessarily need.”

Struggling since the record 2007 shopping season, holiday sales shot back this year.  Americans spent more than $451 billion this year, a number that continued to grow late Friday night.

The biggest boost to sales totals this year came from online shopping. Consumers spent $36 billion online this year, as more shoppers stayed at home to buy.

The National Retail Federation upped its holiday forecast from a 2.3 percent rise in spending to 3.3 percent earlier this month, citing a strong start to the season.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Number of Shoppers, Average Spending Up Black Friday Weekend

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- A trade group that represents the nation’s big chain stores and some local retailers says shopping over the Black Friday weekend has shown improvement over last year.

Estimates from the National Retail Federation indicate that some 212 million shoppers will have visited the nation’s stores between Thursday and Sunday, up from 195 million last year.

The NRF says it believes the average spent by consumers increased as well, up 6.4 percent to $365.34. Total spending topped $45 billion, according to the group.

“While Black Friday weekend is not always an indicator of holiday season performance, retailers should be encouraged that a focus on value and discretionary gifts has shoppers in the spirit to spend,” said NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Retailers Counting on Consumers to Open Wallets on Black Friday 

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Retailers across America are longing for the days when people had money to spend, and they spent it like crazy.  The last time that happened was the 2007 holiday shopping season, just as the recession began its protracted grip on the U.S. economy.

Three years later, consumers are battered, bruised, and broke.  But the National Retail Federation (NRF) is seeing a light shining at the end of the tunnel and it's getting switched on this Black Friday -- the traditional start of the holiday shopping season.

The NRF's Scott Krugman says that 2010 "presents a consumer with a little more spending power than last year" and while it won't reach the spending frenzy of 2007, it should be 2.3 percent higher than 2009.

An estimated 138 million Americans are expected to hit the stores at some point during the upcoming weekend, with electronic goods expected to get the most attention, thanks to favorites like tablets and laptops.  A lot of other merchandise will be heavily discounted for a limited time to attract shoppers.

For those preferring to avoid brick and mortar stores, there's always online shopping, which continues to get stronger every year.  Predictions are that it will grow by 16 percent from 2009 levels, to $51.7 billion this season.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


National Retail Federation Expects Holiday Gift Spending to Increase

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The National Retail Federation predicts overall holiday spending this year to increase by 2.3 percent compared to 2009 and reach $447 billion. Overall sales increased slightly last year and were down 3.9 percent in 2008, at the height of the financial crisis.

“Consumers will still shop with the economy in the back of their minds, but we’re starting to see shoppers take baby steps toward a new normal,” says Matthew Shay, NRF president and CEO.

Though the NRF believes the current state of the economy will weigh on most Americans' minds, there are ways by which retailers can entice consumers to spend.  Consumers tell the retail trade group that they’re looking to maximize their holiday spending by looking for discounts, using coupons and doing comparison shopping online and with their smartphones.

NRF says the most popular categories for gifts remain clothing and books, CDs and DVDs.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio