Home Continue Forward Progress in 2022, One Hurdle at a Time
January 3, 2022
Continue Forward Progress in 2022, One Hurdle at a Time

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In business, as in life, it seems we are confronting hurdle after hurdle. And success over the long course, now more than ever, is enabled by the tactics with which each hurdle is approached, one at a time, without losing sight of the finish line.

Such resolve was on display during the 2021 holiday shopping season. Agile, creative and otherwise tactically sharp suppliers and retailers cleared daunting barriers, one after another, to fuel stout retail sales numbers that defied the doomsaying about clogged supply chains, labor shortages, inflation, fragile consumer confidence and an ever-mutating virus that refuses to quit.

Mastercard SpendingPulse reported retail sales rose 8.5% during the 2021 holiday shopping season from Nov. 1 to Dec. 24. While U.S. e-commerce sales jumped 11% compared to the same period in 2020, brick-and-mortar sales also came up big at an 8.1% year-over-year gain, according to Mastercard.

A strong last-minute holiday shopping surge, meanwhile, put an encouraging cap on a retail season that saw extraordinarily high sales levels well before Thanksgiving weekend. The NPD Group reported retail sales of discretionary general merchandise during the week ending Dec. 25 were 16% ahead in dollars and 5% ahead in units compared to the same week in 2020. Such growth that week at higher average selling prices, according to NPD, underscored limited out-of-stock impact on sales and a relative lack of a need for heavy promotions.

Whether strong 2021 holiday sales wind up looking like a last-gasp shopping binge ahead of a long winter’s spending nap remains to be seen. But it should nonetheless inspire a wave of motivation among suppliers and retailers to find new ways to sustain forward progress against all the potential barriers in their paths.

Yes, in business, as in life, it can seem like a constant sprint to clear the next hurdle. However, taking things one hurdle at a time, without losing long-term vision, is necessary during these unique times to stay ahead in what is more like a marathon.

Welcome to 2022. On your mark. Get set. Go!

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