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Early Holiday Shopping Boosts US Retail Sales

Nov 18, 2020 6:51 AM   By Rapaport News
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October marked the sixth straight month of US retail sales increases as consumers did their holiday shopping early, noted the National Retail Federation (NRF).

Overall retail sales grew 5.7% compared to the same period last year, and 0.3% from the previous month, according to figures the US Census Bureau released Tuesday. The month-on-month figure represents a slight slowdown from September’s growth of 1.6% over August, but the sector is still on track for a positive holiday season, the NRF said.

“Consumers have proven their resilience and willingness to spend as we head into the heart of the holiday season,” said NRF CEO Matthew Shay.

Some 59% of more than 8,000 holiday shoppers surveyed by NRF at the beginning of November said they had already started shopping for the season, while 42% noted it was an earlier start than usual for them to make purchases. However, on average, respondents have only completed 26% of their shopping, meaning there is still plenty of shopping left for November and December, NRF noted.

Online sales were the main driver of growth in October, with seven out of nine retail categories increasing.

“October retail sales remained on track despite the pandemic continuing to affect households and businesses,” said NRF chief economist Jack Kleinhenz. “The steady expansion of retail sales is good news against the background of these unusual economic circumstances and climbing virus cases in recent weeks. Early holiday shopping appears to have supported October’s increase in sales.”

While the NRF expects positive results to continue, the rise in Covid-19 cases could affect sales.

“[It] continues to be a factor that weighs on consumer perceptions, sentiment and spending, and there could be retrenchment if we cannot thwart this latest wave,” Kleinhenz added.

Image: A couple shopping at the mall during the pandemic. (Shutterstock)
Tags: Jack Kleinhenz, Matthew Shay, National Retail Federation, NRF, Rapaport News, US Census Bureau, US retail sales
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