Economist: Holiday retail sales could increase by 10% in Iowa

Retailers are going to see a significant increase in sales this holiday season, says Creighton University economist Dr. Ernie Goss.

“This is going to be a very good retail holiday buying season for our retailers in this part of the country,” he said to Radio Iowa, “probably going to be up as much as 10% from the same period last year.”

Mr. Goss conducts monthly surveys of supply managers in manufacturing plants in Iowa and eight other states.

“The Paycheck Protection Program was particularly important for this part of the country and that’s put a lot of dollars out there,” he said. “Finally, we’ve got the agriculture sector which is doing very well this year compared to previous years. In fact, these are the best agriculture sector numbers we’ve seen since 2012 and 2013 and that really spills over into Iowa and the regional economy.”

Dr. Ernie Goss is the director of the Institute for Economic Inquiry and a professor of economics at Creighton University Heider College of Business. CREDIT CREIGHTON UNIVERSITY

Even factoring in an inflation rate of 5%, Mr. Goss believes there’s still a lot of pent-up demand created by stimulus packages, and that more people will go into a store to buy gifts rather than risk receiving a delivery late due to cargo backups at U.S. ports.

“It pays us — all of us — to shop locally because those dollars that stay in the community have much larger impacts than spending that ends up in Seattle or other places across the nation or across the globe,” Mr. Goss says.

There will be fewer bargains, according to Mr. Goss, and retailers will face the headaches of empty shelves due to supply chain issues and the difficulty in finding extra staff for the holiday shopping season. Goss says in this part of the country, there are 1.4 jobs for every person who is looking for a job.

“In other words, you’re going to stand in longer lines,” Mr. Goss says.