U.S. Holiday Retail Sales Strong

U.S. retail sales during 2021’s November-December holiday season grew 14.1 per cent over 2020 to $886.7 billion, beating the National Retail Federation’s (NRF) forecast and setting a new record despite challenges from inflation, supply chain disruptions, and the ongoing pandemic. The NRF says the number includes online and other non-store sales, which were up 11.3 per cent at $218.9 billion. The numbers focus on core retail and exclude automobile dealers, gasoline stations, and restaurants. Sales at building materials and garden supply stores were up 13.5 per cent year-over-year and sales at furniture and home furnishings stores were up 15 per cent. “Despite supply chain problems, rising inflation, labour shortages, and the omicron variant, retailers delivered a positive holiday experience to pandemic-fatigued consumers and their families,” says Matthew Shay, president and chief executive officer at NRF. “Consumers were backed by strong wages and record savings and began their shopping earlier this year than ever before. This is, in part, why we saw a decline in sales from November to December.” NRF expects further growth for 2022.