(WASHINGTON) – The National Retail Federation (NRF) announced it expects sales in November and December, excluding autos, gas and restaurant sales, to increase a solid 3.6 percent to $655.8 billion – significantly higher than the 10-year average of 2.5 percent and above the seven-year average of 3.4 percent since recovery began in 2009. Additionally, NRF is forecasting non-store sales to increase between 7 and 10 percent to as much as $117 billion.
“All of the fundamentals are in a good place, giving strength to consumers and leading us to believe that this will be a very positive holiday season,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said. “This year hasn’t been perfect, starting with a long summer and unseasonably warm fall, but our forecast reflects the very realistic steady momentum of the economy and industry expectations. We remain optimistic that the pace of economic activity will pick up in the near term.”
Holiday sales in 2015 increased 3.0 percent over the previous year.
“Consumers have seen steady job and income gains throughout the year, resulting in continued confidence and the greater use of credit, which bodes well for more spending throughout the holiday season,” NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz said. “Increased geopolitical uncertainty, the presidential election outcome and unseasonably warm weather are the main issues at play with the greatest potential to shake consumer confidence and impact shopping patterns. However, the economic spending power of the consumer is resilient and it should never be underestimated.”
NRF’s holiday sales forecast is based on an economic model using several indicators including, consumer credit, disposable personal income and previous monthly retail sales releases. The overall forecast 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 found at www.nrf.com.
Seasonal Employment forecast to grow between 640,000 and 690,000
According to the NRF, retailers are expected to hire between 640,000 and 690,000 seasonal workers this holiday season, in line with last year’s 675,300 new holiday positions.
The National Retail Federation 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. NRF’s This is Retail campaign highlights the industry’s opportunities for life-long careers, how retailers strengthen communities, and the critical role retail plays in driving innovation. Visit www.nrf.com for more information.