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Experts predict higher holiday sales despite inflation, interest rate hikes

Despite inflation and economic challenges, experts still expect shoppers to spend their money this holiday season.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — The countdown to the holidays has finally arrived! But with inflation and those six interest rate hikes this year, how will that affect what you buy?

According to the National Retail Federation, they expect shoppers to still spend their money.

During November and December, the NRF said that holiday retail sales will grow between $942.6 billion and $960.4 billion— that's between 6% and 8% over 2021.

The NRF also predicted that online and other non-store sales will increase between 10% and 12%, which would be $262.8 billion and $267.6 billion.

Grace Kang, the founder of Pine Olive in Little Rock's SoMa district, said that she's looking forward to the increased foot traffic this season.

"I do 100% believe that people will come out, be present, and want to physically be able to pick out the gifts for the people they love," Kang said.

Even with inflation woes, she still believes that people will be out spending money on gifts for their loved ones.

"People are still buying homes, people are still living their lives, so I think they're more conscious and mindful about how they are buying, but they still [are] spending money," she described.

During the pandemic, online sales were helpful to a lot of businesses— however, Kang is ready for a more typical shopping season.

"As much as I love the online business, there is nothing that will really replace that in-person connection," Kang said.

Even as experts forecast holiday retail sales to trend in a positive direction, Kang said that she'll continue to make sure things are affordable and easier for buyers.

"You don't need to break the bank to buy something special for people that you love," Kang added. "If we can provide a little choice for people and make their lives just a little bit easier, we're doing our thing."

Additionally, the NRF expects retailers across the country to hire between 450,000 and 600,000 seasonal workers.

You can read their full report here.

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