Halloween Shopping | Source: Adobe Stock

The spooky season is upon us, and as September ushered in the full-blown days of pumpkin spice, cash registers were ringing up some big numbers.

According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), consumer concerns regarding the continued spread of the COVID-19 delta variant turned attention back to physical merchandise as families cooled on experiences and services such as travel, dining, or entertainment. Both the U.S. Census Bureau and the NRF — which use differing methodology in their calculations — reported retail sales growth in September. Not only were sales slightly stronger than in August, but year-over-year sales spiked 11% according to the NRF and 13.9% according to the Census Bureau.

“Despite persistent challenges related to the global pandemic, supply chain and labor shortages, retailers and their partners have shown resilience and ingenuity in getting the workforce, goods, and systems in place to serve their customers and the communities where they operate,” says NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay. “We welcomed the chance to collaborate with the Biden administration and industry partners to address supply chain and labor force issues. We have seen record imports this year and are confident that collectively we can work through these challenges to ensure a healthy and happy holiday season.”

The NRF says that overall retail sales for the first nine months of 2021 were up 14.5% over last year.

Related: The October 2021 Issue of the Toy Book is Here!

Entering the back half of October, the organization says that consumer spending on Halloween is anticipated to be up this year as well. The NRF says that Halloween spending should hit $10.14 billion in 2021, up from $8.05 billion last year.

Together, all of this data bodes well as third quarter earnings season for the toy industry kicks off next week.

About the author

James Zahn

James Zahn

James Zahn, AKA The Rock Father, is Editor-in-Chief of The Toy Book, a Senior Editor at The Toy Insider and The Pop Insider, and Editor of The Toy Report, The Toy Book‘s weekly industry newsletter. As a pop culture and toy industry expert, Zahn has appeared as a panelist and guest at events including Comic-Con International: San Diego (SDCC) Wizard World Chicago, and the ASTRA Marketplace & Academy. Zahn has more than 30 years of experience in the entertainment, retail, and publishing industries, and is frequently called upon to offer expert commentary for publications such as Forbes, Marketwatch, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, USA Today, Reuters, the Washington Post, and more. James has appeared on History Channel’s Modern Marvels, was interviewed by Larry King and Anderson Cooper, and has been seen on Yahoo! Finance, CNN, CNBC, FOX Business, NBC, ABC, CBS, WGN, The CW, and more. Zahn joined the Adventure Media & Events family in 2016, initially serving as a member of the Parent Advisory Board after penning articles for the Netflix Stream Team, Fandango Family, PBS KIDS, Sprout Parents (now Universal Kids), PopSugar, and Chicago Parent. He eventually joined the company full time as a Senior Editor and moved up the ranks to Deputy Editor and Editor-in-Chief.