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One month after Labor Day, traditionally regarded the end of the summer hiatus, and the U.S. retail is already counting down to the holiday season, which will kick off with the Thanksgiving Day weekend at the end of November. While certain signs are ominous, like the still rampant rate of inflation and war clouds in Ukraine, the mood in the market is still relatively even.

Speaking to the media, the National Retail Federation’s chief economist, Jack Kleinhenz, said that while consumers remain worried about high inflation and the interest rate hikes imposed by the Federal Reserve intended to bring it under control, but neither has stopped them from spending.

“The economic situation in the United States is unsettling,” Kleinhenz said. “Consumer confidence is down, consumer spending’s rate of growth has slowed, and economists and consumers alike are worried about the possibility of a recession, all reflecting persistently high inflation and rising interest rates. Nonetheless, spending continues to grow, and many economists say a recession – if there is one – will likely be mild.”

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“Consumers have become cautious – but they have not stopped spending,” Kleinhenz said. “Growth is not as high as last year, but households continue to spend each month as more jobs, wage growth and savings backstop their finances and help them confront higher prices.”



Kleinhenz’s remarks came in the October issue of NRF’s Monthly Economic Review, which noted that consumer spending held up better than expected in August as overall retail sales reported by the Census Bureau grew 0.3 percent from July and 9.1 percent year over year.

Year-over-year increases in retail sales have been mostly in the upper single digits since spring, not as dramatic as the double-digit numbers seen most of last year into early 2022 but still healthy.

In a press statement released in early October, the Rapaport news service noted that Mastercard expects jewelry sales in the United States to rise 2.2 percent in November and December, with many jewelry shoppers beginning the holiday season in October, so as to avoid the last-minute rush.

Jewelers are focused on enhancing their sales propositions by combining digital and in-store platforms and tapping into their suppliers’ online inventory, Rapaport noted, catering to consumers’ desire for greater convenience and a more interactive shopping experience.

U.S. jewelers remain optimistic for the holiday season, Rapaport added, but are hesitant to buy inventory while polished prices are declining.

Retailers are taking more goods on memo and demanding shorter delivery times from suppliers, Rapaport said.


The generally optimistic forecasts were backed up the latest consumer confidence figures reported by the Conference Board at the end of September. The organization’s Consumer Confidence Index increased for the second consecutive month stands at 108.0 (1985=100), up from 103.6 in August.

The Conference Board’s Present Situation Index—based on consumers’ assessment of current business and labor market conditions—rose to 149.6 from 145.3 in August. The Expectations Index—based on consumers’ short-term outlook for income, business, and labor market conditions—increased to 80.3 from 75.8.

“Consumer confidence improved in September for the second consecutive month supported in particular by jobs, wages, and declining gas prices,” said Lynn Franco, Senior Director of Economic Indicators at The Conference Board.

“Meanwhile, purchasing intentions were mixed, with intentions to buy automobiles and big-ticket appliances up, while home purchasing intentions fell. The latter no doubt reflects rising mortgage rates and a cooling housing market. Looking ahead, the improvement in confidence may bode well for consumer spending in the final months of 2022, but inflation and interest-rate hikes remain strong headwinds to growth in the short term,” Franco added.