U.S. holiday sales could rise over 10% this year, a trade body said on Wednesday, as major consumer goods makers and retailers work to prevent supply chain disruptions from leaving shelves empty of in-demand toys and games.
The National Retail Federation (NRF) forecast sales to increase between 8.5% and 10.5%, to between $843.4 billion and $859 billion, during November and December, compared with a previous high of $777.3 billion last year.
Rising income and household savings have never been stronger and would help people pay more for goods at a time when companies have raised prices to deal with inflation, the NRF said. It added there is exceptional demand for holiday products this year, although a survey last week showed customers were worried about availability.
"If retailers can keep merchandise on the shelves and merchandise arrives before Christmas, it could be a stellar holiday sales season," NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz said.
NRF also said the arrival of international travelers to the United States amid relaxed COVID-19 restrictions would further drive sales higher.
"That's going to give a jolt to the retail side, because there is a high correlation between international travelers and tourism in the U.S., and retail sales," NRF President Matthew Shay told reporters.
Several retailers had also begun their holiday selling as early as September, warning their customers their favorite items could sell out or delivery could take longer than usual.
"There may be some categories in which there will be some shortages or which consumers will need to do some switching or trading ... they won't go home empty-handed," Shay said.
Amazon.com, Inc. has secured more shipping storage, while Levi Strauss & Co and Crocs Inc. have been redirecting their goods to come in through East Coast ports, away from the congested West Coast.