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NRF Says Holiday Retail Sales Will Set Records









The National Retail Federation on Wednesday (Oct. 27) predicted 8.5% to 10.5% growth in retail sales in November and December 2021 compared to the same time a year ago, with projections ranging from $843.4 billion to $859 billion across the U.S. during the holiday shopping season.

Consumers set the previous record for holiday shopping last year when they spent $777.3 billion, up 8.2% from 2019. The increase has averaged 4.4% in the last five years, according to the NRF announcement.

“There is considerable momentum heading into the holiday shopping season,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said in the announcement. “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.”

NRF’s forecast shows 11% to 15% growth in online and other non-store sales, reaching between $218.3 billion and $226.2 billion, up from $196.7 billion in 2020. eCommerce will remain an important tool for holiday shoppers this year, but NRF expects them to return to shopping in stores more in 2021.

“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,” NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz said in the announcement. “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,” he said.

NRF expects that retailers will hire between 500,000 and 665,000 seasonal workers, up from 486,000 last year.

Related news: Discounts Harder to Find Amid Supply Chain Bottleneck

Supply chain issues and inflation could mean shoppers will find fewer sales this holiday season, especially with out-of-stock messages up 172% from January 2020, according to Adobe, Inc., which tracks 18 categories, led by apparel, sporting goods, baby products and electronics.

Walmart Inc., Costco Wholesale Corp. and Home Depot told The Wall Street Journal earlier this month that the lack of inventory has made it easier for them to keep prices higher because shoppers are willing to pay more with the supply lower.





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