apnews.com/2ed531ef2879a585f3c9d8546f909774
NEW YORK (AP) — Buoyed by solid hiring, healthy pay gains and substantial savings, shoppers are returning to stores and splurging on all types of items. But the big question is: How much will supply shortages, higher prices and staffing issues dampen their mood this holiday season? Americans, already fatigued with pandemic-induced social distancing policies, may get grumpy if they can't check off items on their holiday wish lists, or they may feel disappointed by the skimpy holiday discounts. Exacerbating their foul moods is the fact that many frustrated workers called it quits ahead of the holidays, leaving businesses short-handed during their busiest time of the year.Shoppers are expected to pay on average of between 5% to 17% more for toys, clothing, appliances, TVs and others purchases on Black Friday this year compared with last year, according to Aurelien Duthoit, senior sector advisor at Allianz Research. TVs will see the highest price spikes on average, up 17% from a year ago, according to the research firm. That's because whatever discounts available will be applied to goods that are already expensive.Such frustrations could mute sales for the holiday season that are supposed to break records.The National Retail Federation, the nation's largest retail trade group, predicts holiday sales will increase between 8.5% and 10.5% compared with the 2020 holiday period when shoppers, locked down during the early part of the pandemic, spent their money on pajamas and home goods — mostly online. Holiday sales increased 8.2% in 2020.“I think it is going to be a messy holiday season," said Neil Saunders, managing director at GlobalData Retail. ”It will be a bit frustrating for retailers, consumers and the workers. We are going to see long lines. We are going to see messier stores. We are going to see delays as you collect online orders."Jill Renslow, executive vice president of business development and marketing for Mall of America, the nation's largest mall,...
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