Retail Sales Jumped 1.7 Percent in October

Craig Miner, CEO of Home Depot, told analysts after the company reported its earnings spread Tuesday. “Obviously we haven’t seen that.”

Strong October sales may partly reflect the early start of the holiday shopping season. In mid-September, LL Bean added a banner to its website warning customers about holiday shipping delays and shortages and urging early shopping. Best Buy offered Black Friday deals long before Halloween, from October 19 to October 22. Target kicked off its “Early Black Friday” deals on October 31.

“I’m sure some people started searching early because of concerns that they wouldn’t be able to find the item they were looking for once everyone was out shopping,” said Beth Ann Bovino, chief US economist at S&P Global.

However, there are some signs that the shortage is beginning to recede, in part because retailers also shopped early this year. At the Port of Los Angeles, vacation orders usually begin arriving in late August or early September; They began arriving in June this year, port executive director Jane Siroca said at an event Tuesday with Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg.

Economists have warned that if consumers simply get a head start on holiday spending, it could lead to disappointing sales in November and December. But most forecasters expect spending to remain strong due to the improving public health picture and the fundamental strength of the US economy.

Unemployment has fallen to 4.6 percent, from nearly 20 percent at the height of the pandemic, and wages are rising, particularly for low-income workers. Families are sitting on collective savings of $2.5 trillion during the pandemic — and unlike last Christmas, when the pandemic reduced the appeal of browsing, rooming and staying indoors, many Americans feel comfortable going out and spending.

Tom Nolan, CEO of Kendra Scott, a fashion jewelry company with 119 locations, said its sales rose “materially” over the past year and 2019, and that he expects performance to continue through the end of the year.

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