US 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 businesses and shoppers this holiday season, the National Retail Federation (NRF) said.
“Retail sales data for October reflects the enduring strength of consumers’ finances and willingness to spend as the holiday season gets underway,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said. “The robust balance sheets of American households are being met by retailer preparation and hard work to provide products that consumers want at competitive prices. 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.”
NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz said, “October’s numbers highlight the retail industry’s ongoing hardiness now that we’re in the fourth quarter. Consumers remain in high gear moving into the last months of the year. While it’s difficult to parse out exact amounts, the figures reflect the combined effects of Halloween and early holiday shopping. 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.
“Concerns about high prices are weighing on consumer sentiment, but that has not held back spending. As it has for more than a year-and-a-half, Covid-19 remains a significant factor should there be an increase in coronavirus infections that could cause a pullback in spending.”
The U.S. Census Bureau said overall retail sales in October were up 1.7% seasonally adjusted from September and up 16.3% year-over-year. That compares with increases of 0.8% month-over-month and 14.3% year-over-year in September. Despite occasional month-over-month declines, sales have grown year-over-year every month since June 2020, according to Census data.