Question 5 of 28 in Coronavirus Outbreak
Started Oct 23, 2020 05:00PM UTC   •   Closing Jan 01, 2021 08:01AM UTC

What will U.S. holiday season retail sales be for 2020 relative to the 2019 holiday season?

U.S. retail sales have had dramatic swings during the COVID-19 pandemic, placing the fate of retailers' all-important holiday season in flux (Business Wire, CNBC). The outcome will be determined using seasonally adjusted "Retail Trade and Food Services, ex Auto and Gas" data from the U.S. Census Bureau for November and December 2020 relative to the same period in 2019, expected to be released in January 2021 (Census.gov). To retrieve the data go to https://www.census.gov/retail/index.html and under the "Advance Monthly Retail Trade Report" section, select "Time Series/Trend Charts: Create your own customizable time series." Do the following in each of the five options: (1) select "Advanced Monthly Sales for Retail and Food Services," (2) set Start at 2019 and End at 2020, (3) select "44W72: Retail Trade and Food Services, ex Auto and Gas," (4) select "Sales - Monthly," and (5) select "U.S. Total" and check off only "Seasonally Adjusted."  For November and December 2019, the Bureau reported combined sales of 754,030 [millions of dollars].

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Name Probability
Lower by more than 2.5% 7%
Lower by between 0.0% and 2.5%, inclusive 22%
Higher by more than 0.0% but less than 2.5% 44%
Higher by between 2.5% and 5.0%, inclusive 22%
Higher by more than 5.0% 5%

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