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National Retail Federation Raises Holiday Forecast

Dec 5, 2021 9:33 AM   By Rapaport News
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The National Retail Federation (NRF) has lifted its holiday spending outlook amid strong sales at the start of the season.

Sales for November and December could grow as much as 11.5%, the organization said last week. That figure is higher than the 8.5% to 10.5% the NRF predicted at the end of October, when high Covid-19 infection rates looked set to dampen sentiment, the NRF explained.

“Consumers and retailers have both revised their playbooks and broken with previous traditions,” said NRF chief economist Jack Kleinhenz. “With the momentum we’ve seen so far likely to continue, it seems probable that we will exceed our initial projection.”

Factors the NRF believed would mitigate spending across the season — including supply-chain disruptions, inflation and challenges such as the new Covid-19 omicron variant — have not dented consumer shopping, it explained.

“October [saw] the largest monthly increase since March, and there was no evidence of a pullback, despite price increases that have come with inflation caused by supply-chain disruptions and increased demand,” the NRF noted.

Higher disposable income is driving much of the increase in sales, the NRF said. Over the past year, disposable personal income has grown 4.1% and spending has increased 12%. Meanwhile, unemployment claims fell to their lowest level since the weekend before Thanksgiving in 1969, the NRF continued.

“The holiday season clearly looks to be off to a good start,” Kleinhenz added. “Consumers remain in solid financial shape and do not appear to be stretched. With shopping starting earlier, the Thanksgiving weekend now helps to mark off the holiday season, rather than serving as the kickoff it once was.”

Image: A woman shopping for the holidays. (Shutterstock)
Tags: COVID-19, holiday retail sales, Jack Kleinhenz, National Retail Federation, NRF, Rapaport News
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