December retail sales fall 1.9% after early vacation rush | US and global news

New York (AP) — Americans struggling with product shortages, rising prices, and the advent of Omicron have significantly reduced their spending in December after a surge in this year’s holiday shopping season in the fall.

According to the US Department of Commerce, retail sales in December fell 1.9% seasonally from November, when sales increased 0.3%. October sales increased 1.8%. Still, retail sales surged 16.9% compared to December 2020, the Commerce Department said Friday.

The decline in spending has spread to many sectors. According to the report, department store sales were down 7% month-on-month, restaurant sales were down 0.8%, and online sales were down 8.7%.

Omicron was identified by the World Health Organization in late November, and the December report from the Ministry of Commerce first captured some of the impact on consumer behavior.

The monthly retail report covers only about one-third of overall personal consumption and does not include money spent on haircuts, hotel stays, plane tickets, etc. In November, restaurant sales increased 1%. This is the best performance in the sector since July.

And this year was a strong year for retailers, as spending patterns changed but remained rising.

The National Retail Federation, the largest retail group in the United States, is squeezing sales last month and will announce actual holiday season sales on Friday. Despite the challenges faced by shoppers and stores, record growth of 8.5% to 10.5% was expected compared to the same period last year.Me

Omicron variants have led to widespread labor shortages by calling for illness by people, including the retail sector, and supply shortages have reduced what makes it possible to store shelves. Stores and restaurants have shortened business hours or were closed on previously open days.

This week, Lululemon warned that fourth-quarter sales and profits are likely to reach the lower end of expectations as they are working on variant fallout.

“We started the holiday season in a strong position, but have since experienced some of the consequences of the Omicron variant, including increased capacity constraints, limited staff availability, and reduced business hours in certain locations. We did, “said CEO Calvin McDonald.

And inflation has subsided at almost every level of the economy, and the Federal Reserve has stopped describing rising prices as “temporary.”

Inflation surged at the fastest pace in nearly 40 years last month. This is a 7% year-on-year surge that has increased household costs and stopped wages from rising. And the biggest price spikes are hitting where Americans can feel it, and the cost of competition for homes, cars, clothing, and food is higher.

Raquel Schuttler, 53, who works in fashion sales, said soaring food prices have a psychological impact on her spending everywhere.

Atlanta residents shopping for groceries for their 17-year-old son and fiancé used to travel intermittently to grocery stores between big purchases, but now the cost of those small trips. Is $ 280 instead of $ 220. She regained lunch at the mall with her friends to avoid the temptation to shop there.

“I’ve been much more conservative,” she said. “I impulsively stopped going out of any kind.”

Follow Anne D’Innocenzio twitter

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December retail sales fall 1.9% after early vacation rush | US and global news

Source link December retail sales fall 1.9% after early vacation rush | US and global news

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