(LEX 18) — The holiday season is entering its final days which means many people are finishing (or maybe starting now) their holiday shopping.
As shoppers continue to fill shopping malls and malls, inflation continues to be an issue.
However, when it comes to the usual gifts that go under the Christmas tree this year, the financial burden felt throughout the year may not have such a strong impact.
A Walmart manager recently spoke to CNN, explaining the significant decline in certain toys, sports goods, and other clothing.
Dr. James Kirby Easterling, who teaches at Eastern Kentucky University, weighed in on that downward trend.
“We are seeing lower prices especially in industries and categories such as toys and clothing and apparel. Some other places of electricity,” said Dr. Easterling.
“Although we see low prices. That doesn’t mean we have a wide choice.”
Dr. Easterling spent 22 years working as a supply chain manager before teaching at EKU.
He has traveled the world, as far as Japan and Singapore, to inspect and track global supply chains.
The point of Dr. Easterling above draws a partial tunnel vision picture of some of these toys and products.
While some distributors may have a large selection of products at a discounted price, there is not a wide range of products to choose from.
“Many companies and stores have bought a lot from toy manufacturers. They have a great amount of creativity but the selection of products is limited,” said Dr. Easterling.
Dr. Easterling pointed to the release of heavy timber on the west coast and the continued recovery of the retail industry from the pandemic as factors helping to lower inflation elsewhere.
He also wanted to bring context to inflation rates themselves.
The benchmark inflation rate has risen to the 7-8% range, but that represents an average rate of inflation.
Easterling reference products such as food and drinks have estimated inflation at 15% while these categories of toys are below the limit of 7%, even after increasing by 3-4% in October compared to 2021 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
At the end of the day, Easterling believes that consumers should take this as a sign of hope that inflation will continue to decline even after the holidays wrap up.
“I think it’s always good news when customers feel happy with their limited amount of money that they have to buy as they like, that they feel that money is passing less than in the past,” said Dr. Easterling.
“I’m hopeful that we will continue to see lower prices overall.”