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Why this holiday shopping season could be more “normal”

Justin Ho Nov 23, 2022
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People walk at a shopping mall in Santa Anita, California. Frederic J. Brown/AFP via Getty Images

Why this holiday shopping season could be more “normal”

Justin Ho Nov 23, 2022
Heard on:
People walk at a shopping mall in Santa Anita, California. Frederic J. Brown/AFP via Getty Images
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The National Retail Federation is forecasting that retail sales will grow 6% to 8% this holiday season, compared to last year.

But retailers still have some reasons to be concerned: Inflation’s near 40-year highs. Consumer sentiment, according to the University of Michigan, is near multi-decade lows.

“Based on what’s happening in the broader economy, consumers really should be pulling back in spending, right?” asked Shannon Seery, an economist at Wells Fargo.

Thing is, she estimates that consumer spending will rise. That’s because so far this year, spending’s been pretty resilient.

“Households are going to continue to draw down some stockpiled savings, I think they’re going to put more on their credit card to facilitate the most normal holiday season in two years,” she said.

A “normal” shopping season doesn’t necessarily mean a “booming” one. Some retailers have reported that sales slowed down late last month compared to the same time a year ago.

But Brian Yarbrough at Edward Jones said last year at this time, sales were unusually high, “because there was all this pre-buying, due to concerns about the supply chain, in 2021.”

Yarbrough said sales this holiday weekend will give us a better sense of how consumers feel about spending.

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