Holiday season

Retail Study Says ‘Happy Holiday Season’ As US Consumers Spent Additional $ 330 In November

New economic data for November showed an increase in retail spending among U.S. consumers compared to October, along with a GlobalData comparison reporting an increase in spending of $ 330 per person compared to November 2020, both good signs consumers are pushing for a “happy holiday season.”

The increase comes as officials said last week that prices rose 6.8% over the past year, the largest increase in 40 years, for items like food and gasoline as well as for cars, homes and clothing.

In addition, the average American family is said to be making more money now than before the pandemic, as some companies increased wages by 4.2% in September of last year, the biggest increase in about 20 years. Stimulus checks and increased unemployment benefits over the past year have also contributed to renewed optimism about consumer spending.

Retail spending rose about 0.3%, a slower increase than the 1.8% reported in October, according to the US Department of Commerce.

Sales at department stores and other retail businesses edged down, but the largest increase since July was seen in spending in restaurants, with a 1% increase in November.

Stephen Stanley, chief economist at Amherst Pierpont, said the trend for the past two months reflects a typical economic trend, with a balance of larger and smaller changes from month to month.

“Failure to meet expectations, while substantial, is not big enough to be a game-changer for the economy as a whole,” Stanley wrote on Wednesday, according to the Associated Press. “It looks like we can (be) back to this fashion. I still expect the Christmas retail season to be robust.”

The overall increase of 0.3% was lower than many economists had predicted, but some said the constant media coverage and discussions of supply chain issues and shortages may have led some people to start their holiday shopping earlier, dividing the economic benefits of the holiday season between October and November.

Retail statistics for November show an increase in spending compared to October, along with a GlobalData comparison showing an increase of $ 330 per person spent last month compared to November 2020. Above, shoppers walk up ‘at Macy’s in the Downtown Crossing neighborhood on November 10, 2020. December 17, 2021 in Boston, Massachusetts.
Charles Krupa / Associated press kit

However, Omicron emerged in late November and Wednesday’s report would not capture any of its negative effects.

Retail sales, although lower than expected, continue to increase in an economic environment that has crippled some retailers. Many have had to dramatically increase wages to find and keep workers, increasing the cost of their operations. They are also scrambling to fill the shelves with the main US ports still being safeguarded.

At the same time, as Americans pay more for basic necessities like food and gas, slowing spending can be an indication of inflationary fatigue.

At Stew Leonard’s, a family-owned grocery chain based in Connecticut and New York, some families buy chicken instead of red meat, or bananas instead of the more expensive blueberries. Others seem unfazed, catching lobster despite a significant rise in prices.

At Kido, a small children’s boutique in Chicago, spending is high despite an around 5% increase for toys and other items, owner Keewa Nurullah said. She expects a 15 percent increase in sales for the year.

“These gifts are buying more than ever because they are trying to disguise the pandemic,” Nurullah said. “They don’t want their children to be deprived of it.”

The US government provided stimulus checks in March as well as a weekly unemployment supplement of $ 300 from March to September. Most households with children also started receiving a monthly child tax credit in July.

This has led to continued optimism about consumer spending, which is the source of the majority of economic activity in the United States.

Although big box retailers promise full shelves for the holidays, supply constraints appear to be stubborn. Target CEO Brian Cornell recently told The Associated Press he believes it will take several years to remove blockages in the supply chain.

It’s not all bad news. The Minneapolis-based retailer has added 30,000 new supply chain jobs to meet growing demand and to navigate the changed landscape.

“It’s really due to incredibly high demand and a very healthy American consumer,” said Cornell.

The National Retail Federation, the nation’s largest retail group, said this month that the holiday shopping season appears to be on the verge of beating its forecast of 8.5% to 10 sales growth, 5% despite additional challenges this year, from a new variant of the coronavirus, to soaring inflation.

The retail report released on Wednesday only covers about a third of overall consumer spending, excluding services such as haircuts, hotel stays and airline tickets.

In the report, Neil Saunders, Managing Director of GlobalData, wrote: “Such a large increase is a clear indication that, regardless of the economic or pandemic concerns, the consumer is determined to spend what it takes to get through a happy holiday season. end of year. “

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Inflation, US economy, holiday shopping, consumer spending
A report showing an increase in retail spending in the United States follows officials saying last week that prices rose 6.8% in the past year, the biggest increase in 40 years, for products such as food and gasoline as well as for cars, homes and clothing. Above, Black Friday shoppers are featured at Citadel Outlets in Commerce, California on November 26, 2021.
Ringo HW Chiu / Associated press kit

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