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Pittsburgh retail expert predicts strong holiday shopping sales this year

Matt Rourke

Local and national forecasts predict stronger holiday season sales for retailers, with significant increases over last year’s pandemic-dampened traditional shopping season.

The National Retail Federation predicts holiday sales in November and December will be up -- between 8.5% to 10.5% higher than last year. The trade group estimates at least $843 billion in holiday sales this year.

Stores will be battling supply-chain problems and staffing shortages, according to analysts.

“We're going to find as we're in the stores that we may have to wait a lot longer in lines. The service may not necessarily be there if we're looking for assistance or help. And so, I think consumers just need to be a little bit more patient and recognize that this is the situation,” said Audrey Guskey, an associate professor of marketing at Duquesne University and a retail expert.

The retail sector has more than 1.2 million job openings, according to one estimate.

“Also an issue with this Black Friday is people are concerned about getting items if they ordered online. So I think a lot of people are going to be shopping with the brick and mortar stores, just to be sure they have that gift in hand when Christmas time comes,” Guskey said.

An economic forecast from commercial real estate firm CBRE estimated e-commerce will continue to grow and will make up to about 20% of total holiday sales.

Kate Giammarise focuses her reporting on poverty, social services and affordable housing. Before joining WESA, she covered those topics for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette for nearly five years; prior to that, she spent several years in the paper’s Harrisburg bureau covering the legislature, governor and state government. She can be reached at or 412-697-2953.