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Some good news in retail, from jobs to media networks

Sick of disappointing retail news? So are we. Just like we’re sick of paying $6 for a carton of eggs. Here are some positive indicators.

Retail jobs are up

US employers added 30,000 retail jobs in January, offering a big boost after a sluggish second half of 2022, when retail jobs fell for three consecutive months from September to November and were stagnant in December.

Retail jobs are seasonal, making month-to-month comparisons unreliable, but jobs are up by 87,000 over January 2022, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis’ data.

Leisure and hospitality jobs, which include retail-related spaces like restaurants, increased by 128,000 in January.

Even hotter than retail jobs? Retail media

Retail media advertising is kind of inflation-proof. “Even as retail media ad spend surges, the ramp-up in available supply continues to outpace demand,” said our analyst Andrew Lipsman.

When it comes to retail media networks, no single business has cornered the market. Amazon and Walmart Connect are the two biggest players, according to data from the Association of National Advertisers, but Target, Kroger, and Instacart are not too far behind. That means advertisers have options.

Lipsman says as long as supply outpaces demand, cost per click will stay low, “but it may be safer to invest in still-maturing platforms.”

Affordable grocers are thriving

Walmart has made headlines for higher-income shoppers trading down on groceries.

Another strong area is the Walmart+ program, which has grown among younger shoppers who may have less spending power.

  • As of December 2022, 23% of respondents to an Insider Intelligence survey conducted by Bizrate Insights said they subscribed to Walmart+, up from 11% in June.
  • Among respondents ages 18 to 34, 43% said they subscribed to Walmart+ in December, up from 19% in June.

Resale keeps revolving

Total US resale volume will rise 7.6% this year to reach $110.92 billion, according to our forecast. Ecommerce makes up an increasing share of the retail pie: In 2024, nearly 3 in 4 (76.3%) US resale dollars will come from ecommerce.

It’s increasingly important for retailers to own their own resale market, which brands are doing by teaming up with resale companies like thredUP, Poshmark, and eBay. And while The RealReal reported a dip in high-priced designer handbag resale value, lower-priced handbags are doing well, indicating resale consumers are trading down but not turning away.

Retailpocalypse now? Not quite. Retail is definitely struggling, but employers are hiring, lower-price retailers are in good shape, and resale continues to expand.


This was originally featured in the Retail Daily newsletter. For more retail insights, statistics, and trends, subscribe here.