J Rogers Kniffen World Wide Enterprises CEO Jan Rogers Kniffen joins Yahoo Finance Live to discuss U.S. retail sales, why Walmart and Costco will weather a recession well, the state of the economy, and the outlook for the retail industry.

Video Transcript

US retail sales fell more than expected in December, as high inflation and rising borrowing costs weighed on consumers. But our next guest still feels somewhat optimistic about the industry in 2023, confident that big box stores like Walmart and Costco could weather a recession or slow down. Now, for more, let’s bring in Jan Rogers Kniffen, World Wide Enterprises CEO, Jan Rogers Kniffen.

Let me– Jan, it’s always great to see you here– let me start out with the numbers today, what they mean in the context of this economy. Negative 1.1% for December. That’s following negative 1% in November. The holiday season maybe not quite what it was cracked up to be with all the discounting?

JAN ROGERS KNIFFEN: Well, the holiday season was OK. The holiday season looked more like a normal year than it did in 2021 or 2020. But it looks more like 2019, where you have normal discounting, you see some pressure on gross margins because the consumer is being a little more particular.

Last year, you could put anything in front of them at any price, and they would buy it, because they were definitely convinced that it wouldn’t be there if they didn’t buy it, and they wouldn’t have what they wanted under the Christmas tree. This year was more normal.

So you know, the retail sales were up 6% year over year. And any other year in history, we would have thought that was fabulous. But given the inflation rate, we don’t think it’s fabulous. We think it’s

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