The National Retail Federation’s (NRF) annual Halloween survey brings smiling jack-o-lanterns for retailers, but black cats seem to have invaded CarMax, which announced layoffs today.
First, the news to make retailers smile: More consumers plan to celebrate Halloween this year (64.5 percent vs. 58.7 percent last year). Average per person expenditures should be up this year to $66.54, an increase from last year’s $64.82.
When all the pumpkins, candy and costumes are purchased, total expenditures should hit $5.77 billion, not enough to bail out Wall Street, but a handsome number nevertheless.
Those celebrating Halloween will spend an average $24.17 on costumes; $20.39 for candy; $18.25 on decorations; and $3.73 on greeting cards. People between the ages of 18 and 24 will spend the most on Halloween — $86.59.
Nearly 74 percent of those celebrating on Oct. 31 will hand out candy; 44.6 percent will carve a pumpkin; 50.3 percent will decorate; 35.3 percent will dress in costume; 31.1 percent will either throw or attend a party; and 33.6 percent will take children trick-or-treating.
BIGresearch conducted the survey for NRF.
Not so positive is today’s news from CarMax, which announced plans to layoff more than 600 workers as part of a cost-control strategy. That’s bad news for the employees, but hopefully it will bode well, long-term, for improved results at CarMax, which on Aug. 31 reported 2008 second quarter sales down 13 percent from last year.
Comparable store sales were down 17 percent for the quarter, and net earnings fell to $14 million from $65 million in the previous second quarter.
So, there’s a little something to smile about and some grim news that hopefully will improve matters at CarMax.