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IPFS News Link • Business/ Commerce

Hold Off The Big Christmas Splurge, Bargains Will Be Better Later

•, By Mish Shedlock

The Wall Street Journal has some interesting thoughts on holiday sales this year partially based on import and rail traffic.

Please consider Five Economic Signs You're Smart to Procrastinate on Holiday Shopping This Year

Early signs—from the number of boxes loaded on railway cars to rising consumer debt—signal a weaker holiday season than the past three, when pent-up demand coming out of the worst of the pandemic sparked shoppers' spending.

"This holiday will be late breaking and heavily deal reliant," Chris Cocks, the chief executive of toy maker Hasbro, which makes such wish-list staples as My Little Pony, Nerf blasters and Transformers, told analysts recently.

The National Retail Federation expects overall sales increases could be in line with the slower pace we saw in the decade leading up to the pandemic, from 2010 to 2019, when the average annual increase over that period was 3.6%. It expects November-December spending, not including inflation, to rise 3% to 4%. By contrast, sales rose 5.4% in 2022, 12.7% in 2021 and 9.1% in 2020.

Others are even gloomier. Some economic and company forecasts call for almost no growth in holiday spending this year, particularly when inflation is stripped out. The consulting firm Bain expects inflation-adjusted retail sales in November and December for stores and e-commerce to rise 1%, the slowest pace since the financial-crisis holidays of 2008.

Shoppers can look forward to more discounts as Christmas approaches, predicts Jordan Voloshin, CEO of the upscale chain of cookwares stores Sur La Table. "October was very soft," he said. He expects sales will be concentrated on a few big days of discounting like Black Friday and the Saturday before Christmas.