We’re about halfway through retail’s make-or-break season and thus far consumers — despite the sudden, fearsome spike in the cost of just about every basic — seem to be in a spending mood. U.S. retail sales were up three months in a row through October, according to the latest report by the U.S. Census Bureau. Estimates for the crucial current quarter forecast a spending surge of more than 5 percent.
“The consumer is in great shape, and the consumer’s willingness to spend is very high,” Brian Yarbrough, an analyst at Edward Jones, told Bloomberg.
With inventories lean, paired by overdue cargos, retailers are enjoying a period of happy imbalance between supply and demand. Turnover is brisk. Kohl’s for example, reported third quarter revenue of $4.6 billion, up 15.6 percent year over year, with percent.
Retail industry profit margins are projected to hit record highs this year, above 13 percent. Noted financial analyst Ed Yardeni recently told Barron’s that the numbers prove “cost pressures aren’t squeezing margins.”