Holiday retail sales in November and December grew an unexpectedly high 8.3%, the National Retail Federation reports. The results include online and other non-store sales that were up 23.9% in 2020 compared to 2019.
The result more than doubled the 3.5% average holiday increase over the previous five years including 2019’s 4% gain.
NRF officials attributed the results to several factors and foresee similar retail health ahead if Congress approves President Biden’s economic recovery program that includes stimulus checks to consumers and financial aid for businesses.
Stimulus checks from 2020 and money saved from not traveling, dining out or attending entertainment events during the COVID-19 pandemic enabled consumers to fuel the spending increases, said NRF’s Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz said. Delivery of effective vaccines for the virus promises to help uphold consumer confidence, he said.