Inflation, Recession Fears Have Some Holiday Shoppers Trading Down
Kanebridge News
    HOUSE MEDIAN ASKING PRICES AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney $1,656,430 (+0.65%)       Melbourne $994,677 (+0.27%)       Brisbane $978,777 (+0.15%)       Adelaide $878,311 (-0.89%)       Perth $857,374 (-0.27%)       Hobart $742,122 (-0.64%)       Darwin $666,990 (-0.54%)       Canberra $987,062 (-0.84%)       National $1,052,287 (+0.12%)                UNIT MEDIAN ASKING PRICES AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney $750,216 (+0.60%)       Melbourne $492,069 (-0.93%)       Brisbane $539,184 (+0.19%)       Adelaide $444,416 (-2.21%)       Perth $457,888 (+0.17%)       Hobart $527,154 (-0.12%)       Darwin $344,216 (+0.22%)       Canberra $504,424 (-0.33%)       National $530,515 (-0.07%)                HOUSES FOR SALE AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney 10,120 (-121)       Melbourne 15,095 (-40)       Brisbane 7,990 (0)       Adelaide 2,438 (+11)       Perth 6,327 (-40)       Hobart 1,294 (-21)       Darwin 238 (+1)       Canberra 1,020 (+13)       National 44,522 (-197)                UNITS FOR SALE AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney 8,780 (+4)       Melbourne 8,222 (-18)       Brisbane 1,619 (+1)       Adelaide 396 (-4)       Perth 1,599 (+9)       Hobart 213 (+10)       Darwin 400 (-6)       Canberra 1,003 (-24)       National 22,232 (-28)                HOUSE MEDIAN ASKING RENTS AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney $820 (+$20)       Melbourne $610 (+$10)       Brisbane $640 (+$3)       Adelaide $610 (+$10)       Perth $670 ($0)       Hobart $550 ($0)       Darwin $700 ($0)       Canberra $680 (-$10)       National $669 (+$5)                UNIT MEDIAN ASKING RENTS AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney $775 (+$15)       Melbourne $550 ($0)       Brisbane $630 (-$20)       Adelaide $500 (+$5)       Perth $628 (+$8)       Hobart $450 ($0)       Darwin $500 (-$15)       Canberra $570 ($0)       National $591 (+$)                HOUSES FOR RENT AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney 5,426 (-22)       Melbourne 5,783 (+92)       Brisbane 4,042 (+149)       Adelaide 1,399 (+12)       Perth 2,345 (+25)       Hobart 383 (-2)       Darwin 94 (-10)       Canberra 595 (-9)       National 20,067 (+235)                UNITS FOR RENT AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney 8,835 (+301)       Melbourne 4,537 (+107)       Brisbane 2,209 (+57)       Adelaide 391 (-8)       Perth 741 (-7)       Hobart 137 (+5)       Darwin 152 (-14)       Canberra 612 (+17)       National 17,614 (+458)                HOUSE ANNUAL GROSS YIELDS AND TREND       Sydney 2.57% (↑)      Melbourne 3.19% (↑)      Brisbane 3.40% (↑)      Adelaide 3.61% (↑)      Perth 4.06% (↑)      Hobart 3.85% (↑)      Darwin 5.46% (↑)        Canberra 3.58% (↓)     National 3.30% (↑)             UNIT ANNUAL GROSS YIELDS AND TREND       Sydney 5.37% (↑)      Melbourne 5.81% (↑)        Brisbane 6.08% (↓)     Adelaide 5.85% (↑)      Perth 7.13% (↑)      Hobart 4.44% (↑)        Darwin 7.55% (↓)     Canberra 5.88% (↑)      National 5.80% (↑)             HOUSE RENTAL VACANCY RATES AND TREND       Sydney 0.8% (↑)      Melbourne 0.7% (↑)      Brisbane 0.7% (↑)      Adelaide 0.4% (↑)      Perth 0.4% (↑)      Hobart 0.9% (↑)      Darwin 0.8% (↑)      Canberra 1.0% (↑)      National 0.7% (↑)             UNIT RENTAL VACANCY RATES AND TREND       Sydney 0.9% (↑)      Melbourne 1.1% (↑)      Brisbane 1.0% (↑)      Adelaide 0.5% (↑)      Perth 0.5% (↑)      Hobart 1.4% (↑)      Darwin 1.7% (↑)      Canberra 1.4% (↑)      National 1.1% (↑)             AVERAGE DAYS TO SELL HOUSES AND TREND         Sydney 30.3 (↓)       Melbourne 31.5 (↓)       Brisbane 31.7 (↓)       Adelaide 25.7 (↓)       Perth 35.4 (↓)     Hobart 33.7 (↑)      Darwin 36.2 (↑)        Canberra 32.0 (↓)     National 32.1 (↑)             AVERAGE DAYS TO SELL UNITS AND TREND         Sydney 31.3 (↓)       Melbourne 31.9 (↓)       Brisbane 32.1 (↓)       Adelaide 24.8 (↓)       Perth 38.7 (↓)       Hobart 37.6 (↓)     Darwin 46.5 (↑)        Canberra 39.2 (↓)     National 35.3 (↑)            
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Inflation, Recession Fears Have Some Holiday Shoppers Trading Down

Consumers are swapping everything from Lululemon leggings to Natori underwear for cheaper alternatives

By SUZANNE KAPNER
Mon, Nov 7, 2022 9:03amGrey Clock 4 min

Many shoppers are trading down to less expensive clothing and accessories—swapping Lululemon leggings for Uniqlo and expensive lingerie for Target bras and panties—as inflation eats into their disposable income and a rocky stock market erodes their wealth.

The downshift raises concerns about the coming holiday season, historically a time when many people splurge on designer handbags, fine jewellery and other extravagant purchases for themselves or loved ones. Investors will get updates on shopping attitudes this week when Ralph Lauren Corp., Michael Kors parent Capri Holdings Ltd. and Tapestry Inc., the owner of Coach, report their latest results.

“I’m skipping the splurge this year,” said Kate Cheng, who owns a jewellery store in San Francisco. Ms. Cheng said she normally treats herself to a designer handbag or another luxury item during the holidays, but is holding off this year over concerns about a looming recession.

She has noticed a shift in her customers’ buying habits in recent months to less-expensive silver jewellery from gold. That has prompted her to curtail her own spending. She switched to Uniqlo leggings instead of products from Lululemon, which cost about twice as much. She also canceled a trip to Maui, which would have cost about $4,000, and instead plans to take a road trip to New Mexico for about half the price.

Seventy-two percent of consumers plan to look for less expensive alternatives this holiday season as a result of inflation, according to a survey of 2,200 U.S. adults by Morning Consult, a research company.

With inflation at a four-decade high, consumers have been trading down to less-expensive groceries and other necessities for the better part of this year. Now, with the stock-market plunge of recent months further eroding the wealth of middle- and higher-income households, the penny-pinching is extending to more discretionary purchases.

Holiday retail sales in November and December, excluding spending on cars, gasoline and restaurants, is slated to increase between 6% and 8% from a year ago, after a 13.5% jump last year, according to the National Retail Federation, a trade group. The labor market is strong, and NRF expects some consumers will tap their savings and credit cards to deal with price increases.

U.S. consumers slowed their spending on luxury goods in recent months, according to credit-card data from Mastercard Inc., Citigroup Inc. and BofA Securities Inc. Spending over the summer and into September fell from the same period a year earlier, after posting double-digit percentage gains for most of the past two years.

Thomas Chauvet, who heads Citi’s Europe luxury goods equity research, said the slowdown was driven by a deceleration in transaction values, suggesting that even affluent consumers are trading down. According to BofA Securities, middle-income consumers, those making $50,000 to $125,000, slowed their spending the most.

Marc Metrick, chief executive of Saks, the online platform of the Saks Fifth Avenue brand, said customers with household incomes of about $100,000 are still spending but at a slower rate. These customers spent 20% more at Saks in recent months compared with the same period in 2021, but that is down from the 40% increase during the first six months of this year. As a result, Saks is selling fewer wallets, belts and other items bought by entry-level shoppers. “They are the canary in the coal mine for sentiment at that aspirational level,” Mr. Metrick said.

Jean-Marc Duplaix, finance chief for Gucci parent Kering SA, told investors in October that entry-level shoppers are buying less. “Among certain categories of products, which are maybe more appealing to a more aspirational clientele, there is some more pressure,” he said.

The slowdown has also hit American jeweller Tiffany, according to its parent, LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton SA. “The business in the U.S. is a bit less strong than it used to be,” but it is still growing at a double-digit percentage, Jean-Jacques Guiony, LVMH’s finance chief, told analysts in early October.

Kering and LVMH executives said some U.S. shoppers shifted spending to Europe given the strength of the U.S. dollar. LVMH said its overall business with American shoppers in the third quarter was similar to the first and second quarters of this year.

Mr. Chauvet said the U.S. slowdown in Citi’s data, which started in May, wasn’t the result of purchases shifting overseas because it captures spending by U.S. consumers regardless of their location.

Luxury brands have been among the most aggressive in raising prices. HSBC estimates the sector raised prices around 5% since April, on top of an 8% increase starting in September 2021.

David Hampshere, who owns a real-estate investment company, switched from Ralph Lauren button-down shirts to Costco Wholesale Corp.’s Kirkland brand earlier this year. “With the stock market tanking and mortgage rates rising, I’ve definitely been cutting my expenses,” said Mr. Hampshere, who is 55 years old and lives in Freeport, Fla.

Mr. Hampshere recently returned a pair of $300 noise-canceling headphones and is instead using an old pair that he already owned. He plans to give friends and family $30 gift cards this holiday season rather than the $100 cards he doled out last year.

Stacie Krajchir, 54, a publicist who lives in Los Angeles, has stopped buying Natori underwear and now gets her bras and panties at Target. “I don’t need a $110 bra,” said Ms. Krajchir. “A $12 bra is good enough.”

She recently returned a $300 blouse she bought at Nordstrom. “I can buy a blouse, jeans and a dress at Zara, and it still won’t add up to $300,” Ms. Krajchir said. She plans to trade down in her gift-giving, too. She is getting her sister one gift this year, instead of the five gifts she normally gives her.

Brett Glickman started swapping lower-priced items for high-end ones in her San Francisco boutique after she noticed consumers becoming more frugal in recent months. She is pulling $198 French silk nightgowns off the shelves and replacing them with $24 sweaters and $65 baby-doll dresses. “I had to flip about 30% of my inventory to less- expensive prices,” the former Levi Strauss & Co. executive said.

JCPenney and Kohl’s Corp. said they are seeing consumers switch to private-label brands, which tend to be more affordable than national brands. “They were definitely trading down,” Jill Timm, Kohl’s finance chief said at a conference in September, referring to Kohl’s shoppers.

Vered DeLeeuw, of Washington, D.C., used to buy most of her clothes at Bloomingdale’s, but has switched to Nordstrom Rack for its bargain prices. “Bloomingdale’s was my mother ship, but it is too expensive now,” the 51-year-old food blogger said.



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Boost for World Economy as U.S., Eurozone Accelerate in Tandem

Surveys point to a fresh acceleration in the U.S., even as growth in the eurozone strengthens

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Global economic growth is becoming more broad based, with surveys indicating that business activity in both the U.S. and the eurozone gained momentum in May.

The eurozone economy contracted in the second half of 2023 following a surge in energy and food prices triggered by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and the subsequent rise in interest rates intended to tame that inflation.

By contrast, the U.S. economy expanded strongly over the same period, opening up an unusually wide growth gap with the eurozone. That gap narrowed as the eurozone returned to growth in the first three months of the year, while the U.S. slowed.

However, surveys released Thursday point to a fresh acceleration in the U.S., even as growth in the eurozone strengthened. That bodes well for a global economy that relied heavily on the U.S. for its dynamism in 2023.

The S&P Global Flash U.S. Composite PMI —which gauges activity in the manufacturing and services sectors—rose to 54.4 in May from 51.3 in April, marking a 25-month high and the first time since the beginning of the year that the index hasn’t slowed. A level over 50 indicates expansion in private-sector activity.

“The data put the U.S. economy back on course for another solid gross domestic product gain in the second quarter,” said Chris Williamson, chief business economist at S&P Global Market Intelligence.

Eurozone business activity in turn increased for the third straight month in May, and at the fastest pace in a year, the surveys suggest. The currency area’s joint composite PMI rose to 52.3 from 51.7.

The uptick was led by powerhouse economy Germany, where continued strength in services and improvement in industry drove activity to its highest level in a year. That helped the manufacturing sector in the bloc as a whole grow closer to recovery, reaching a 15-month peak.

By contrast, surveys of purchasing managers pointed to a slowdown in the U.K. economy following a stronger-than-expected start to the year that saw it outpace the U.S. The survey was released a day after Prime Minister Rishi Sunak called a surprise election for early July, banking on signs of an improved economic outlook to turn around a large deficit in the opinion polls.

Similar surveys pointed to a further acceleration in India’s rapidly-expanding economy, and to a rebound in Japan, where the economy contracted in the first three months of the year. In Australia, the surveys pointed to a slight slowdown in growth during May.

Businesses reported that they were raising their prices at the slowest pace since November, which should reassure the European Central Bank. However, the eurozone continued to add jobs in May, suggesting that wages might not cool as rapidly as the ECB had hoped.

The ECB released figures Thursday that showed wages negotiated by labor unions in the eurozone were 4.7% higher in the first quarter than a year earlier, a faster increase than the 4.5% recorded in the final three months of 2023

The ECB has signalled it will lower its key interest rate in early June, while the Fed is waiting for evidence that a slowdown in inflation will resume after setbacks this year.

Nevertheless, eurozone businesses and households shouldn’t bank on successive cuts to borrowing costs, ECB Vice President Luis de Guindos said. “There is a huge degree of uncertainty,” he said. “We have made no decisions on the number of interest rate cuts or on their size,” he said in an interview published Thursday. “We will see how economic data evolve.”

Continued resilience in the eurozone economy would likely make the ECB more cautious about lowering borrowing costs after its first move, economist Franziska Palmas at Capital Economics wrote in a note. “If the economy continues to hold up well, cuts further ahead may be slower than we had anticipated,” she said.

– Edward Frankl contributed to this story.

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