NRF: Retailers Bracing for Busy Balance of Holiday Season

NRF: Retailers Bracing for Busy Balance of Holiday Season

December 16, 2021

Retail sales in November—including online numbers—posted gains that indicate a record holiday shopping season. Despite worries over supply chain issues and lingering effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, shoppers returned to stores this year and continued to shop online in record numbers, according to the National Retail Federation (NRF).

Not surprisingly, more people are back shopping in stores, resulting in overall retail sales rising 14 percent in November 2021 compared to the same period a year earlier. The Washington, D.C.-based trade association said retailers should be able to hold on to most of those gains over the whole holiday season, predicting an 11.5 percent increase over last year—outpacing the 8.5 to 10.5 percent growth it projected prior to the holidays.

Despite more shoppers venturing back into stores, online sales for November built on last year’s record numbers, rising 15 percent year over year.

“Consumers continued spending in November, building on momentum from strong early holiday shopping in October and setting the stage for a bright holiday season,” NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz said. “Consumers’ financial condition remains healthy and neither stubborn inflation nor COVID-19 appear to have derailed holiday spending despite both being top of mind. Recent labor market progress has helped propel incredibly strong demand, and most shoppers have the income and savings to absorb higher prices driven by the pandemic and supply chain disruptions.”

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