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US Holiday Retail Sales Will Be Especially Hard to Read This Year

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US Holiday Retail Sales Will Be Especially Hard to Read This Year

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The secular trend of advance purchases continues

Christmas shopping now starts in October. A new survey from the US National Retail Federation shows that half of Americans have already started shopping.

There is a secular trend for past Christmas shopping that I have followed for years. Increase retail sales for October / November and follow December data. There was a time when it surprised the markets, but I think it is well understood now.

This year will present a particular challenge because purchases appear to have started even earlier amid warnings of supply chain problems. With that, I’d bet on strong October retail sales, but I warn that it could skew November down and December particularly low.

Mix in all sorts of other pandemic changes and seasonal adjustment issues and it’s a recipe for mixed signals. Expect the same elsewhere.

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US Holiday Retail Sales Will Be Especially Hard to Read This Year

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