U.S. holiday sales rise 8.3% in 2020 as stimulus checks boost spending: NRF By Reuters

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: People visit at the shops at Hudson Yards during early opening for the Black Friday sales in Manhattan, New York

(Reuters) – U.S. holiday sales jumped 8.3% last year to record their best growth in at least 19 years, as consumers used their stimulus checks to splurge on gifts, the National Retail Federation (NRF) said on Friday.

The retail group said holiday sales, including e-commerce, grew to $789.4 billion, beating it’s forecast of between 3.6% and 5.2% growth.

The sales jump last year was more than double the 3.5% average holiday growth over the previous five years, including 2019’s 4% gain, NRF said.

“The promise of a new round of stimulus checks after a deal was struck before Christmas helped increase consumer confidence,” NRF Chief economist Jack Kleinhenz said.

Kleinhenz noted that Americans were able to spend more on gifts this year as they had saved more money from the stimulus checks on account of not being able to travel or eat out due to the lockdown restrictions.

Online and other non-store sales for the festive period were up 23.9% at $209 billion.

Consumers took advantage of curbside pickups and quick in-store trips as a bulk of gifts and other holiday-related items were bought during the third and fourth weeks of December, when it became late to expect deliveries of online purchases by Christmas, the NRF said.

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