October Retail Sales Rise As Holiday Shopping Starts Early
Retail sales rose in October as many consumers began holiday shopping early to avoid any shortages amid pandemic-driven supply chain disruptions that are dominating this holiday season, the National Retail Federation (NRF) said Tuesday. October’s results come as the NRF is forecasting another record-setting holiday season, with sales forecast to grow between 8.5 percent and 10.5 percent over 2020. While the NRF forecast defines the holiday season as Nov. 1 through Dec. 31, a record 49 percent of consumers surveyed this fall planned to begin their holiday shopping before November, with 36 percent doing so to avoid missing out on key holiday items.
Total Retail's Take: As the holiday season pushes into November, retail sales are rising earlier than ever. The NRF reports that the October sales rise was led by increases at clothing, electronics and sporting goods stores, and sales were up in all but two categories on a monthly basis. This is a good sign, but only for retailers that have enough stock to fill orders. "Even though consumers may have begun shopping early to avoid inventory shortages, November and December are still when they do most of their holiday shopping, so much remains ahead of us," said NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz.
"Despite significant challenges, including supply chain issues, labor shortages, rising inflation, and OSHA’s impending employer vaccine mandate, retailers are continuing to safely serve consumers online and in stores," NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said. Consumer excitement to spend for the holiday season will reward retailers that have worked hard to stock shelves and keep prices low in this difficult environment.
"We continue to urge consumers to shop early and shop safely, and we fully expect this holiday season to be one for the record books,” Shay said.
Kristina Stidham is the digital content director at Total Retail and sister brands Women in Retail Leadership Circle and Women Leading Travel & Hospitality at NAPCO Media. She is passionate about digital media and handles video, podcast and virtual event production for all brands. You can often find her at WIRLC, TR, WLT&H or industry events with her camera and podcasting equipment—or at home on Zoom—recording interviews with thought leaders and business executives.
Kristina holds a B.A. in Media Studies and Production from the Temple University Klein College of Media and Communication in Philadelphia. Go Owls! When she's not in the office, she loves to go on long walks, sing around the house, hangout with her family and two pet guinea pigs, and travel to new places.