NRF: Holiday season may deal a few wild cards

Washington – The National Retail Federation’s (NRF) chief economist is mostly optimistic about 2020 holiday sales, with a few caveats.

In NRF’s Monthly Economic Review, Jack Kleinhenz likened the job of forecasting the organization’s holiday outlook to assembling a jigsaw puzzle without all the pieces.

“Completing a puzzle is highly probable given patience, having all the pieces and having the picture on the box to guide assembly,” Kleinhenz said. “But it’s not the same when attempting to fit pieces of the economy together in today’s environment. Many of the pieces are missing.”

The overall economy and consumer spending levels show encouraging signs that should carry through the fourth quarter, he said, but COVID-19 infection rates create uncertainty.

“The test is whether consumer spending will be sustained amid wildcard puzzle pieces including policy surprises, the election and a resurgent virus.”

The government’s $1,200 stimulus checks issued this past spring and enhanced benefits for the unemployed helped boost spending, he noted. Both are now in the rearview mirror, and only about half of the 22.2 million jobs lost in March and April have been replaced. Full economic recovery is not likely before 2022, he said in the report.

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How COVID-19 Is Changing Interior Design

It’s safe to say that the coronavirus pandemic has impacted just about every industry, including the home space, to some extent. With many being forced to work from home, more and more people have shifted their focus towards nesting. Scroll through Instagram, for instance, and you’ll find hosts of images featuring decorating projects — refreshed home offices are just one example — proud organizing moments, unique craft ideas, and many other creative projects people have relied on to experience a moment of joy during this challenging time. Home has become more important now than ever.

Considering people’s increased connection to their living spaces, we can’t help but wonder about what’s on the horizon for home design post-COVID-19, when many assume their normal routines again. That’s why we invited Heide Hendricks of the award-winning design firm Hendricks Churchill, who’s currently putting the finishing touches on a country residence for Eva Chen, Instagram’s director of fashion partnerships, to explore what can be expected from the world of home design after the coronavirus has waned.

The Living Room as the Heart of the Home

living room hendricks churchill

John Gruen

“Suddenly, the living room has become grand central. We’ve been creating more spaces within the