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US Retail Sales Jump as Holidays Start Early

Nov 17, 2021 5:58 AM   By Rapaport News
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US retail sales rose in October as consumers began holiday shopping earlier to avoid shortages amid supply-chain disruptions, the National Retail Federation (NRF) said.

Revenue grew 1.7% versus the previous month and jumped 16% over the same period a year ago, according to data the US Census Bureau reported Tuesday. That compares to a 0.8% month-on-month increase in September.

“October’s numbers highlight the retail industry’s ongoing hardiness,” said NRF chief economist Jack Kleinhenz. “Even though consumers may have begun shopping early to avoid inventory shortages, November and December are still when they do most of their holiday shopping, so much remains ahead of us. Concerns about high prices are weighing on consumer sentiment, but that has not held back spending.”

Halloween purchases also contributed to the boost, the NRF noted.

In October, sales increased year on year in all nine of the categories the US Census Bureau monitors. The clothing and accessories segment — which includes jewelry — had the highest growth, up 23%. Revenues for the category slipped 0.7% compared to September. Online sales across all products climbed 7% year on year and 4% from the previous month.

For the first 10 months of the year, sales were up 14% relative to 2020, consistent with the NRF’s forecast that retail sales would grow 10.5% to 13.5% this year to between $4.44 trillion and $4.56 trillion.

The NRF predicted holiday sales would grow between 8.5% and 10.5% year on year during the November-to-December period. However, 49% of the consumers the NRF surveyed stated they planned to begin their holiday shopping prior to November.

“[The] numbers show that consumers are getting a jump on their holiday shopping,” said NRF CEO Matthew Shay. “We fully expect this holiday season to be one for the record books.”

Image: A woman shopping for the holidays. (Shutterstock)
Tags: holiday sales, Jack Kleinhenz, Matthew Shay, National Retail Federation, NRF, Rapaport News, US Census Bureau, US retail sales
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