What’s happening: Data released Thursday is expected to confirm that U.S. retail sales fell for the second straight month in August.

But new forecasts from Deloitte, Bain & Company and Mastercard predict a huge sales boom in the coming months, the most important time of year for retailers.

Deloitte estimates holiday sales will grow between 7% and 9% in 2021, as vaccinations help shoppers feel more comfortable venturing out to spend some of the money they’ve amassed.

“A steady decline in the savings rate to pre-pandemic levels will support consumer spending and keep retail sales high this season,” said Daniel Bachman, US economic forecaster at Deloitte. “In addition, e-commerce sales will continue to grow as consumers demonstrate a continuous and consistent movement towards online shopping across all categories.”

The consulting firm expects online sales to grow 11% to 15% year over year, reaching as high as $ 218 billion.

MasterCard (MY), for its part, sees US retail sales increase by 7.4%. While online shopping could increase 7.6%, in-store purchases are expected to increase 6.6% from 2020. Bain & Company is also calling for a 7% sales growth rate in November and December.

“The pandemic has impacted almost every square inch of the retail industry,” said Aaron Cheris, Bain & Company’s retail practice manager for the Americas. “However, as this holiday season approaches, we are also seeing significant favorable winds for nominal retail growth, including surges in inflation, a rebound in employment, healthy savings rates. and wage growth. “

But wait: supply chains remain very tangled, causing shipping costs to skyrocket. Some companies worry that empty shelves and shortages of in-demand products will spoil the mood.

“The demand is going to be there,” Isaac Larian, CEO of MGA Entertainment, told CNN Business late last month. “What won’t be there is the product to meet the demand.”

Mastercard believes retailers will try to sidestep supply chain issues, as well as persistent difficulties in hiring workers, by offering holiday promotions earlier in stores and online, especially for electronics and clothing.

“This holiday season will be defined by advance shopping,” Steve Sadove, senior advisor to Mastercard, said in a statement.

Investor perspective: An increase in spending would be good news for retail stocks, which soared earlier this year but have been stranded in recent months. The SPDR S&P Retail ETF is up 45% year-to-date, but lost 4.4% in the third quarter.

Coming Up: US retail sales for August, which will arrive shortly, will provide crucial insight into how spending within the Delta variant holds up ahead of the holiday season. A consensus estimate from Briefing.com predicts that retail sales fell 0.7% after falling 1.1% in July.

Data released earlier this week from China showed retail sales struggled in August, increasing only 2.5% from a year earlier. It was much weaker than expected and a dramatic slowdown from the 8.5% increase recorded in July.

Cigarette giant Philip Morris takes control of inhaler maker

One of the world’s largest tobacco companies is entering the medical device business, despite concerns from healthcare charities.

The last: Philip Morris International (PM), which produces Marlboro and Parliament cigarettes, said on Thursday it had taken control of UK inhaler maker Vectura, securing nearly 75% of the company’s shares.

More than 45% of Vectura’s shareholders have accepted the takeover bid, and Philip Morris International bought 29% of the company’s shares on the open market, reports my CNN Business colleague Charles Riley.

“We have taken an important step in our acquisition of Vectura,” Philip Morris CEO Jacek Olczak said in a statement. “We are very excited about the essential role Vectura will play in our Beyond Nicotine strategy.”

Take a step back: The takeover strengthens the tobacco company’s efforts to generate more than half of its net sales from smokeless products such as e-cigarettes and respiratory medications within four years, against about a quarter today. PMI currently sells cigarettes in over 175 markets.

Vectura has manufactured 13 inhaled medicines for companies such as Novartis and GlaxoSmithKline to treat lung conditions, including asthma.

Healthcare charities opposed the £ 1bn ($ 1.4bn) takeover.

Kjeld Hansen, president of the European Lung Foundation, said he was “very disappointed” to see the agreement finalized.

“The prospect of someone potentially profiting from the sale of a product that harms the lungs and one that treats the lung disease it causes is more than worrying,” Hansen said in a statement Thursday. “For someone living with lung disease, the sale is devastating.”

The iPhone 13’s secret weapon is, surprisingly, its price

Apple’s new iPhone 13 and 13 Pro lineup includes all the upgrades you can expect: faster performance, longer battery life, better screen, and new colors.

The biggest surprise? Its price, reports my CNN Business colleague Samantha Murphy Kelly.

Apple has kept the cost of its iPhones mostly in line with last year’s models, despite rumors they would be more expensive due to issues with the computer chip supply chain.

Massive discounts and trade-in offers from US carriers are also available. AT&T, for example, is offering up to $ 1,000 for a new iPhone 13 Pro and Pro Max after a trade-in, while Verizon is offering up to $ 800 off any new iPhone, essentially paying the cost of an iPhone. 13 of 128 GB. (WarnerMedia, the parent company of CNN, is owned by AT&T.)

Apple also continues to offer iPhones at a wide price range to attract more customers.

Apple has become the king of the ‘good, better, better’ wallet with a phone at every relevant price point, especially since it typically keeps older models in its lineup for those who don’t want to pay four digits for the latest and greatest new devices, ”said Ben Wood, chief analyst at market research firm CCS Insight.

Investor Perspective: Pricing options will be key to encouraging even more people to upgrade their devices, allowing Apple to continue its hot sell streak. So far, investors have been on a wait-and-see mode, with stocks falling 0.4% since Tuesday’s launch event.


US retail sales for August and first jobless claims in the US since 8:30 am ET last week.

Coming tomorrow: University of Michigan consumer sentiment data.

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