WASHINGTON – The National Retail Federation announced today that it expects holiday retail sales in November and December – excluding automobiles, gasoline and restaurants – to increase between 3.6 and 4 percent for a total of $678.75 billion to $682 billion, up from $655.8 billion last year.
“Our forecast reflects the very realistic steady momentum of the economy and overall strength of the industry,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said. “Although this year hasn’t been perfect, especially with the recent devastating hurricanes, we believe that a longer shopping season and strong consumer confidence will deliver retailers a strong holiday season.”
Christmas falls 32 days after Thanksgiving this year, one day more than last year, and is on a Monday instead of Sunday, giving consumers an extra weekend day to complete their shopping.
This year’s forecast would meet or exceed last year’s growth of 3.6 percent and the five-year average of 3.5 percent.
“Consumers continue to do the heavy lifting in supporting our economy, and all the fundamentals are aligned for them to continue doing so during the holidays,” NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz said. “The combination of job creation, improved wages, tame inflation and an increase in net worth all provide the capacity and the confidence to spend.”
NRF’s forecast is based on an economic model using several indicators including consumer credit, disposable personal income and previous monthly retail sales. The overall number includes the non-store category (direct-to-consumer, kiosks and online sales). For historic sales information visit NRF’s Holiday Headquarters and the Retail Insight Center.
NRF Forecasts Seasonal Employment to Grow Between 500,000 and 550,000
With retail employment already up recently, retailers are seeing less of a need to hire seasonal workers for the holidays this year. As part of its forecast, NRF expects retailers to hire between 500,000 and 550,000 temporary workers this holiday season, down from last year’s 575,000.
NRF to Modify Thanksgiving Weekend Reporting
To more accurately capture the entirety of spending on Thanksgiving weekend, NRF this year will release spending data on November 28, the day after Cyber Monday. Doing so will allow NRF to provide a more accurate picture of consumer activity over the entire weekend and incorporate Cyber Monday data into the results. As consumer behavior evolves, NRF will continue to focus its efforts on providing the most relevant, accurate and insightful analysis of its impact on the retail industry.
NRF is the world’s largest retail trade association, representing discount and department stores, home goods and specialty stores, Main Street merchants, grocers, wholesalers, chain restaurants and internet retailers from the United States and more than 45 countries. Retail is the nation’s largest private-sector employer, supporting one in four U.S. jobs – 42 million working Americans. Contributing $2.6 trillion to annual GDP, retail is a daily barometer for the nation’s economy.