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NRF: Holiday Sales to Be Highest Yet

Oct 28, 2021 8:05 AM   By Rapaport News
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 US holiday spending will “shatter” previous records as consumers dip into their sizable savings, the National Retail Federation (NRF) has forecast.

Retail sales in November and December will advance 8.5% to 10.5% year on year, for a total of between $843.4 billion and $859 billion, the organization predicted Wednesday. The average increase over the past five years was 4.4%, while sales in 2020 rose 8.2% to $777.3 billion.

“There is considerable momentum heading into the holiday shopping season,” said NRF CEO Matthew Shay. “Consumers are in a very favorable position going into the last few months of the year as income is rising and household balance sheets have never been stronger. Retailers are making significant investments in their supply chains and spending heavily to ensure they have products on their shelves to meet this time of exceptional consumer demand.”

Online and other non-store sales will climb by 11% to 15% for a total of between $218.3 billion and $$226.2 billion, up from $196.7 billion in 2020.

However, e-commerce growth is expected to be slower than last year as consumers shift back to in-store shopping, the NRF noted.

“The outlook for the holiday season looks very bright,” said NRF chief economist Jack Kleinhenz. “The unusual and beneficial position we find ourselves in is that households have increased spending vigorously throughout most of 2021 and remain with plenty of holiday purchasing power.”

Several factors could still challenge sales, including Covid-19 variants, as well a shipping bottleneck that is causing stocks delays.

“Pandemic-related supply-chain disruptions have caused shortages of merchandise,” explained Kleinhenz. “With the prospect of consumers seeking to shop early, inventories may be pulled down sooner and shortages may develop in the later weeks of the shopping season. However, if retailers can keep merchandise on the shelves and merchandise arrives before Christmas, it could be a stellar holiday sales season.”

Image: A mall crowded with shoppers. (Shutterstock)
Tags: Jack Kleinhenz, Matthew Shay, National Retail Federation, NRF, Rapaport News, US Holiday Sales
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