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Inflation Fears Are Overrated This Black Friday, Expert Says

'We'll start seeing those prices jump up but everything that's going into Black Friday is already here in stock or ordered six months ago.'

As Black Friday nears, talk of inflation and supply chain disruption is at a fever pitch. 

While shoppers fear goods being more expensive, retailers have expressed concerns about trucker shortages and shipping delays.

But even last month saw inflation rise by in October in the biggest one-year jump since 1990, it is still not stopping people from shopping. 

A survey from the Conference Board found that the average American is going to spend $1,022 on holiday gifts this year, while a separate recent report released by the National Retail Federation found that 108 million people plan to shop on Black Friday this year. 

The latter number is just slightly below pre-pandemic levels.

Gabriella Santaniello, founder of the retail consultant firm A-Line Partners, told TheStreet that this weekend is setting up to, if not break records, than at least match pre-pandemic levels in part due to pent-up demand. 

Particularly in the fashion and beauty space, many people who put off buying nicer items during the pandemic are now starting to go out more and want to buy them again.

"Everybody's talking about inflation, inflation, inflation," Santaniello said. "While it affects things like food and gas, people do have a little bit of extra money that will last through the holidays. From what we're seeing stores, there is still incredibly high demand."

Inflation, Santaniello said, can change how people shop but not the act of buying overall. People may choose to buy baby diapers, which were subject to particularly brutal price hikes of 14% this year, from a generic brand instead of the more popular Huggies. 

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But that can also make consumers even more motivated to try to score the items they need for less during Black Friday discounts. 

She predicts that dollar and discount stores will see particularly high demand.

 That won't be just this weekend, but going forward, since it is also too early for inflation to start trickling down into individual shopping habits.

"During the lockdown, many people were forced to change their shopping habits," Santaniello said. "[When the stores opened,] many started going into stores they had never gone to before just because they were open."

The true impact of impact of inflation can take as much as a year to be felt, Joel Goldstein, president of the Mr. Checkout network of distributors and retail owners, told TheStreet.

For many consumers, it will take a shopping period or two to see how much they spent and alter habits when they see that a dollar does not stretch as far. 

But for Black Friday and Cyber Monday, all the numbers have been crunched and inventory has been ordered on the retailer end. 

In fact, there is often more demand than supply since many of the factories that are producing popular goods are seeing backlogs and a shortage of truckers is causing delivery disruption.

"We'll start seeing those prices jump up but everything that's going into Black Friday is already here in stock or ordered for six months ago," Goldstein said. "It's all been captured and down and shipped. Logistics and increasing costs for raw goods is really not a factor."

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