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Holiday season poses major test for Biden economy

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(The Hill) — Black Friday this week will kick off a crucial stretch for President Joe Biden as the U.S. economy struggles to shake off the limits of the coronavirus pandemic.

COVID-19 stifled the regular economic boost of the holiday season in 2020, but retailers and manufacturers are bracing for a surge of shopping and travel after three straight months of growing pressure on supply lines.

Retail sales minus automobiles and gasoline during Thanksgiving week are expected to rise 10% from last year and 12.2% from 2019, according to data from Mastercard. The credit card company is projecting a 56% increase in apparel sales, a 40.2% jump in department stores sales, roughly 30% more spending on electronics and a nearly 40% increase in jewelry sales from the same time last year.

“Holiday lights are shining bright for retailers this year,” said Steve Sadove, senior adviser for Mastercard and former CEO and chairman of Saks Incorporated….

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