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U.S. retail sales have been up both month-over-month and year-over-year every month since June, according to the National Retail Federation’s (NRF) Monthly Economic Report. The report cautions that while sales have recovered more than expected, the continued rise in COVID-19 cases across the country remains a looming threat that could send numbers tumbling again.

“Strong growth in retail sales during the last few months points to the resiliency of consumers even in this disruptive pandemic environment,” says NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz. “Taking in all the evidence available, the U.S. economic recovery has progressed more quickly than generally expected.”

The latest NRF report mirrors toy industry trends indicating that families that have been saving this year have begun spending more at the cash registers. Paired with the economic stimulus checks that many received earlier this year, increased personal disposable income rose 5.4% through August, according to the report.

Kleinhenz believes that further stimulus money may be necessary to prevent stalling of economic recovery, particularly if COVID-19 leads to another wave of store closures.

The NRF recently launched its “New Holiday Traditions” campaign, which encourages families to shop early this season. Last month, the NRF said that forecasting this holiday season was akin to “building a puzzle with missing pieces.”


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.