For the second month in a row, the Dealerscope CE Retail Confidence Index (DS Index) experienced a dropoff in confidence. The March survey turned out an overall score of 185.27, down just 3.6 points from a month ago, but marking the first time that the DS Index didn’t follow a year-over-year raise/decline trend. Last year, the DS Index was able to bounce back after the February decline. However, 2018 saw retailers’ confidence continue to trend downward in the third month of the year.
Of note in the March survey, a large majority of retailers—particularly independent stores—offered anecdotal evidence that foot traffic has been noticeably sluggish during the first few months of the year. And that has resulted in slower than expected sales and, thus, a drop in overall confidence.
As one retailer put it, the sluggish start to 2018 could be the result of a better-than-expected holiday shopping season. “Consumers are still ‘hung over’ from record holiday spending,” they said. “And there are no major holidays to hang promotions on right now.”