business news in context, analysis with attitude

National Retail Federation (NRF) Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz said yesterday that "forecasting 2020 holiday sales is like 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 … I am cautiously optimistic about the fourth quarter in terms of the economy and consumer spending, but the outlook is clouded with uncertainty pivoting on COVID-19 infection rates. The recession appears to be behind us and the re-opening of the economy over the past several months has created momentum that should carry through the fourth quarter. The test is whether consumer spending will be sustained amid wildcard puzzle pieces including policy surprises, the election and a resurgent virus."

KC's View:

Wait.  The recession is over?

Maybe for some folks, but there is still a lot of pain out there, especially among working class folks dealing with layoffs.  But I guess this is the ongoing debate - is this a 'v' shaped recovery, or a 'k' shaped recovery in which there are diverging trend lines for rich and poor?

Maybe I'm wrong, but "cautiously optimistic" seems a little like wishful thinking to me.

It may be a good holiday season for some retailers that cater to people who have managed to come through the pandemic relatively unscathed.  But for a lot of ;people,, it may be just the capper on 2020.

Worst.  Year.  Ever. (Unless, of course, you are a supermarket and are having your best quarters ever.)