Arizona shoppers opening their wallets as holidays approach, business executive says

Dec 16, 2021, 11:40 AM

PHOENIX – Shopping is picking up in Arizona, spurred by the upcoming holidays, and that has made business leaders pretty jolly.

“What we’re seeing here in Arizona, it’s very good. We’re seeing it show up in up our sales tax numbers,” Danny Seiden, president and CEO of the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry, told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Arizona’s Morning News on Thursday.

“Our sales tax revenue category continues its streak of double-digit growth in October, increasing by about 15% and the forecast gain is about $32 million and that’s before we even get into the Christmas season,” he said.

The numbers are pretty good when stacked against pre-COVID shopping, he added, but quite good compared to 2020 pandemic shopping.

Business at the Arizona-Mexico border has seen a bump, too, Seiden said, not even counting holiday shopping, which starts to steamroll at the end of November and through December.

“All of our members who are in the hotel business, the restaurant business, the retail business … are already telling us the increase they’ve been seeing,” he said, “and December is a very big month for cross-border retail.”

The United States lifted restrictions on nonessential land travel from Mexico in early November.

The chamber estimates Mexican nationals spend $7 million per day in Arizona.

Across the country, Seiden said, the National Retail Foundation is expecting over 140 million consumers to shop in person and online Saturday.

Sales went up 18.2% in November, according to a reportreleased Wednesday by the federal government.

But all the good news comes with a dash of lousy: the dollar isn’t going as far this year for American shoppers.

“We’re hearing that story a lot because of inflation,” Seiden said. “We have the highest inflation in decades.”

Consumer prices jumped 6.8% over the past year — the highest such inflation rate in 39 years.

Federal Reserve policymakers forecast the inflation rate will reach 5.3% by the end of the year. They expect inflation to slow considerably to a 2.6% annual rate by the end of 2022.

“One problem is the supply chain and also it’s an influx of too many dollars chasing too few goods which leads to devaluation of the dollar,” Seiden said.

“Consumers are feeling that when they’re buying their gifts, they’re feeling it when they’re buying their food and gas.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Arizona shoppers opening their wallets as holidays approach, business executive says