Holiday retail sales expected to hit record highs: NRF
The National Retail Federation (NRF) is forecasting that consumers will be spending more than usual this holiday season.
Holiday sales during November and December will grow between 8.5 percent and 10.5 percent over 2020 to between $843.4 billion and $859 billion. The previous high of 8.2 percent was recorded in 2020 at $777.3 billion.
NRF expects that both online and other non-store sales will increase between 11 percent and 15 percent to a total of between $218.3 billion and $226.2 billion driven by online purchases, up from $196.7 billion in 2020.
While last year there was extraordinary growth in digital channels, households are expected to shift back to in-store shopping this year for a more traditional holiday shopping experience, alongside online shopping.
“The outlook for the holiday season looks very bright,” NRF chief economist Jack Kleinhenz said. “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.”
“Pandemic-related supply chain disruptions have caused shortages of merchandise and most of this year’s inflationary pressure. 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," added Kleinhenz.
Although, a Covid-19 variant surge could potentially sidetrack the current trajectory of spending, Kleinhenz said strong household fundamentals like growing income and household wealth reaching another record high together support strong spending this holiday season.
As for hiring, NRF expects retailers will hire between 500,000 and 665,000 seasonal workers. That compares with 486,000 seasonal hires in 2020.
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