The National Retail Federation (NRF) forecasts that holiday sales during November and December will grow between 8.5 percent and 10.5 percent over 2020 to between $843 billion and $859 billion. Though the economy needs a robust shopping season, inflation caused by the supply chain crises made this a bold prediction. However, the October retail sales confirm NRF’s prediction.
US retail sales rose in October for a third month, signaling households continue to spend even with the fastest inflation in decades. The value of overall retail purchases increased 1.7 percent in October, the most in seven months, following an upwardly revised 0.8 percent advance in September, the Commerce Department reported. This represents a 16 percent increase from the previous year and came to about $638 billion overall.
Rising wages as well as elevated spending has helped US consumers sustain a robust pace of spending headed into the heart of the holiday shopping season. 11 of 13 categories registered sales increases. Electronics and appliance stores saw a large surge in sales, as did building materials stores and non-store retailers, including e-commerce. Unfortunately, restaurant and bar receipts continue to barley move the needle. Help may be on the way for restaurants and bars though now that the international travel ban has been lifted. An influx of tourists in November and December should lead to increases in restaurant receipts.
Lastly, given the continued struggles of small businesses it is imperative that people shop and support local as much as possible this holiday season. This includes shopping at the store or through their website, buying gift cards, ordering takeout as well as social media shoutouts, leaving positive reviews, signing up for their newsletter, and recommending to friends, family, and coworkers. The strong economic predictions for retail closing out 2021 seem to be coming to fruition. We must make sure that our local spots are not left behind.