November 26, 2018

Strong economy drives holiday spending boom in NYC (New York Post) »

New York City is at the epicenter of a blockbuster holiday spending boom as the ripple effects of massive, multimillion-dollar Wall Street bonuses, tax cuts and a strong economy spur sales and cheer local merchants struggling with rising costs.

There’s so much spending in New York City this holiday season that many business owners are scrambling to hire.

“We’re extremely busy with our hiring up 50 percent this holiday from last year,” said Lauren Raimondi, founder and chief executive of All Aces Promotional Staffing, a Madison Avenue-based temporary-help agency recruiting “hundreds” of seasonal workers for retail promotional events in New York City. “We have a large database, so we won’t have that problem filling jobs,” she added.

Where are all the other workers?

Buspeople, sales assistants, bartenders, wait staff and other pros are in short supply, some business owners complain, as this year’s holiday numbers hit a record.

The average New York City household is forecast to spend $1,861, $450 more than last year, according to Deloitte’s 2018 Holiday Retail Survey. And with brick-and-mortar and online holiday retail sales nationwide
expected to surge by just over 5 percent from last year, New York City — for the fourth consecutive year — may shatter the national average spending bill.

“The metaphorical Grinch keeps making it more expensive to run a restaurant or bar in New York City, so the fact that consumers are spending more brings a holiday cheer,” Andrew Rigie, executive director of the NYC

Hospitality Alliance, told The Post, summing up sentiment in the hospitality sector in New York.

Deloitte’s holiday survey of in-store and online spending from November through January shows New York City consumers plan to splurge an additional 21 percent from last year, or $325 more per household than the national average. Other key findings:

  • Early shoppers, starting before Thanksgiving, are forecast to spend $2,039, or $354 more than “late starters.”
  • Nearly half of New Yorker shoppers planned some heavy-duty shopping on Black Friday, and nearly 60 percent plan the same on Cyber Monday.
  • New York City shoppers plan to spend over $74 more on gifts than other consumers nationwide.

And in a separate study just released by Womply consultants, which analyzed transaction data of small independent retailers nationwide during last year’s holiday season, New York state ranked No. 1 among all 50 states in sales volume.

Analysts say it augurs well for all the major holiday spending days this year in New York, stretching from Thanksgiving to Christmas and into the New Year.

The top five sales days and top three revenue weeks of the year in New York are during the holidays, according to Womply. Retailers see an average of $2,966 in sales daily — with Cyber Monday, the best revenue day of
the year, seeing a whopping 126 percent jump in sales over the typical day.

All told, some $1.1 trillion in retail sales nationwide are forecast by Deloitte, accounting for about 25 percent of annual retail sales. Online shopping nationwide continues to surge this year. With $128 billion in retail sales, these transactions are up 17 percent to 22 percent over last year.

Some analysts think New York City spending would notch even higher gains if the costs of basic goods and services — a result of higher city charges and costs than in other regions — we’re lower.

Still, city business owners will happily take it on the chin this holiday. “I think, all in all, the dials are pointing to steady optimism as we head to the stores,” said Jonathan Rothman, partner at Deloitte. “Plus, we are encouraged by the fact that 77 percent of New Yorkers believe the economy in the coming year will stay the same or improve, the same number who said this last year.”

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