Retail sales increased 8.0% in October, exceeding the CORE CPI of 6.3%; and monthly retail sales were up .9% over September totals, exceeding the monthly inflation index of .4%, but much of this gain was due to inflation pressure on consumer essentials. For example, “food at home” CPI increased 12.4% YOY and as we enter the holidays, U.S. consumers remain anxious about the economy. Holiday spending expectations are muted – 24% said they will spend more, 26% will spend less, and 50% expect to spend the same. Consumer sentiment fell nearly 9% in November, with all components of the index declining – consumers are clearly concerned, and inflation is top of mind for many shoppers. Will the holiday spirit prevail to produce solid sales results in December or will concerns about the economy and personal financial conditions put a damper on holiday sales?
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