The shortest holiday shopping season we’ve seen in years is over. And, BI Retail is still standing!
If you took a break from reading the news to spend time with friends and family, never fear – keep reading for a rundown of all the news you missed this week. And, if someone forwarded you this email and you want retail news in your inbox every Friday,you can sign up here.
The holiday shopping season comes to a close
American retailers closed out a successful holiday shopping season, according to a Mastercard report released on Thursday. Overall retail sales were up 3.4% year-over-year, according the report, despite retailers having six fewer days between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Online sales were up 18.8% compared to last year.
However, the story isn’t over. Retailers are bracing for a massive wave of returns, with UPS predicting that it will see 1.9 million packages deposited on January 2, the peak day for returns of the year.
Amazon thrives amidst the festivities
Amazon shared a few tidbits about its holiday season – enough to boost shares more than 4%, driving the Nasdaq composite above the 9,000 threshold for the first time in history.
According to Amazon, the holiday season was a record-breaking event for its Prime service, with more people using Prime than any previous year. The number of items delivered with free Prime one-day or same-day delivery nearly quadrupled compared to the same period in 2018.
Kroger’s Christmas Eve chaos
Kroger’s credit card machines apparently crashed on Christmas Eve, infuriating shoppers hoping to get some last-minute shopping done as they readied themselves for their Christmas dinners.
Customers were quick to post photos of crowded grocery stores on social media, which Hayley spotted on Twitter.
Taste test: Roscoe’s Chicken and Waffles
As part of Irene’s taste-test tour of Los Angeles, she stopped by Roscoe’s Chicken and Waffles.
Irene’s take: “This bite was everything I ever dreamed chicken and waffles would be. The hot, sweet syrup bonded the tender waffle with the fatty chicken meat and crispy skin.”
Everything else you need to know
- Everyone should read Lisa Eadicicco on the robotic transformation of Apple Stores.
- BuzzFeed and ProPublica have an upsetting scoop on Amazon’s first chief financial officer, Joy Covey, being killed after colliding with a van delivering Amazon packages.
- Áine wrote an incredible history of eggnog, including the eggnog riot of 1826 at the US Military Academy at West Point. A key detail: future Confederate President Jefferson Davis was implicated in the riot but escaped serious punishment because he “stepped into his room to vomit at a fortuitous moment.”
- Irene’s Carl’s Jr. taste test reveals a chain in the middle of an identity crisis.
- Hundreds of thousands of people are petitioning Target to drop plastic bags from its stores.
- The inside story on the Japanese tradition of eating KFC for Christmas.
- Free Starbucks from today until New Year’s Eve!
- Yankee Candle delays and broken candles threaten to ruin the holidays.
- It turns out Bill Gates is a pretty good secret Santa.
- Trader Joe’s versus Wegmans… please do not @ me, take it up with Shoshy.
- Lasagna Mia was so weird and gross that it messed up Olive Garden’s entire quarter.
- It’s a cute goat in a UPS truck, what more do you want from us.
- These Mini Brands toys are also very cute, and, Shoshy reports, selling out at Amazon and Target!