Holiday shopping has been delayed as the economy recovers from the pandemic

People shop around City Creek Center in Salt Lake City on Dec. 17, 2022.  Holiday shopping hasn't started in the past few years.  However, one economist says the economy is returning to normal.

People shop around City Creek Center in Salt Lake City on Dec. 17, 2022. Holiday shopping hasn’t started in the past few years. However, one economist says the economy is returning to normal. (Ben B. Brown, Deseret News)

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SALT LAKE CITY — Holiday shopping isn’t taking off like it was during the pandemic.

US retail sales fell in October for the first time since March. That’s a big difference from the past two years, when holiday shopping began in early September.

Robert Spendlove, senior economist at Zions Bank, said the economy is still feeling the effects of the pandemic.

„If you think of an epidemic like throwing a rock into a lake, there are those … impacts, those ripple effects,” he said. „We’ve gotten over the big shock, but now we continue to see those ripple effects.”

But, according to Spendlove, the economy is returning to normal.

„We see it in employment, we see it in inflation (and) we see it in retail spending,” Spendlove said. „What we expect now is an elusive soft landing, where we see the economy slow but not go into recession.”


We’re past the big shock (epidemic), but now we continue to see those ripple effects.

— Robert Spendlove, economist at Zions Bank


She said holiday shopping months in advance is an epidemic when last-minute shopping and picking up gifts isn’t an option.

„If you look at the economy during the pandemic, we saw the economy crater early on,” Stewart said. „We saw (a) dramatic reduction in the economy … (and) a huge increase in unemployment. So, the federal government stepped in and supported the economy. But, they overheated.”

However, according to Spendlove, the economy is cooling down and returning to normal. He predicts shopping will pick up again after Thanksgiving.

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