Dec 26, 2021 - Economy & Business

Holiday sales up 10.7% from pre-pandemic season

People wait in line to do last minute holiday

People wait in line to do last-minute holiday shopping in New York City on Dec. 24. Photo: Alexi Rosenfeld/Getty Images

Holiday sales rose by 10.7% compared to the pre-pandemic 2019 holiday period, the fastest increase in 17 years, according to the Associated Press.

Why it matters: U.S. retail sales had initially struggled against the backdrop of rising prices, supply chain issues and labor shortages, as businesses emerged from the economic damage incurred at the height of the pandemic.

  • The dramatic sales increase also comes as the newly discovered Omicron variant has spread rapidly throughout the country, fueling fears that the strain may soon upend the new normal.
  • Clothing and jewelry sales rose by more than 30%, according to AP. Online sales were also up 61% from 2019.

The backdrop: The National Retail Foundation predicted in October that holiday sales during November and December would grow between 8.5% and 10.5% over 2020, compared with an 8.2% growth during those same months in 2020.

  • The retail trade group is slated to release a broader picture of sales performances next month, according to the wire service.
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