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November 18, 2022
NRF Expects More Thanksgiving Weekend Shoppers Versus 2021

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The National Retail Federation forecasts 166.3 million people are planning to shop from Thanksgiving Day through Cyber Monday this year, up eight million from the 2021 period. The robust holiday weekend forecast was issued as NRF reported retail sales gains in October.

According to the annual survey released today by the National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights & Analytics, 69% of holiday shoppers plan to hit physical and virtual stores during Thanksgiving weekend this year. Among top reasons consumers plan to shop during the period, the survey indicated, are deals are “too good to pass up,” 59%;  tradition, 27%; and because “it is something to do” over the holiday weekend,” 22%.

Black Friday continues to be the most popular day to shop during the Thanksgiving period, with 69% of those planning to shop that day, followed by 38% on Cyber Monday. Of those intent on shopping Black Friday, 67% say they expect to head to brick-and-mortar stores, up from 64% in 2021, NRF stated. 

As for October, the United States Census Bureau announced that retail sales in October advanced 1.3% from September and 8.3% for the month year over year. In September, sales came in flat month over month but gained 8.6% year over year.

NRF’s calculation of retail sales, which excludes automobile dealers, gasoline stations and restaurants to focus on core retail, had October up 0.7% from September and 6.5% unadjusted year over year. In September, sales grew 0.5% month over month and 7.9% year over year.

NRF had retail sales ahead 7.7% unadjusted year over year on a three-month moving average as of October. Sales gained 7.5% year over year for the first 10 months of the year, NRF noted, keeping results on track with its forecast for 2022 retail sales gains between 6% and 8% versus 2021. Earlier this month, NRF forecast that sales during the holiday season – defined as November through December – will also grow between 6% and 8% versus 2021.

By retail sector, NRF maintained:

  • General merchandise store store sales decreased 0.2% month over month seasonally adjusted and increased 1.8% unadjusted year over year.
  • Furniture and home furnishings store sales increased 1.1% month over month seasonally adjusted and decreased 0.6% unadjusted year over year.
  • Building materials and garden supply store sales increased 1.1% month over month seasonally adjusted and 9.1% unadjusted year over year.
  • Grocery and beverage stores sales increased 1.4% month over month seasonally adjusted and 6.8% unadjusted year over year.
  • Health and personal care stores sales increased 0.5% month over month seasonally adjusted and 5.5% unadjusted year over year
  • Electronics and appliance store sales decreased 0.3% month over month seasonally adjusted and 12.3% unadjusted year over year.
  • Sporting goods store sales decreased 0.3% month over month seasonally adjusted and increased 0.6% unadjusted year over year.
  • Clothing and clothing accessory store sales were flat month over month seasonally adjusted and increased 2.5% unadjusted year over year.
  • Online and other non-store sales increased 1.2% month over month seasonally adjusted and 11.8% unadjusted year over year.

In announcing the monthly results, Matthew Shay, NRF president and CEO, said, “October retail sales data confirms that consumers continue to stretch their dollars on household priorities, including gifts for family and loved ones this holiday season. With a strong labor market and excess savings, we are expecting a solid five-day holiday shopping weekend, and retailers are prepared to meet their customers with the right inventory, competitive prices and great experiences. We are keeping a close eye on the railway labor negotiations and urge Congress to do everything in its power to avoid a labor strike this holiday season.”

NRF chief economist Jack Kleinhenz added, “October’s performance is a strong foothold as we go into the holiday season. Spending has gradually slowed but remains solid. Consumers continue to show resiliency despite elevated inflation, rising borrowing costs and widespread macroeconomic uncertainties. With employment and wages growing and shoppers accessing accumulated savings, we expect the trend to continue. Early holiday deals that enticed customers appear to underly the October numbers and more promotions will be seen in November and December, which are historically the big holiday shopping months.”

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