This year holiday retail sales are expected to increase 2.8 percent to $465.6 billion, according to the National Retail Federation. Although that growth is lower than last year's 5.2 percent increase, it is slightly higher than the 10-year average holiday sales increase of 2.6 percent.
Several economic indicators paint a solid picture for the holiday season, but continued consumer uncertainty over the stock market, gas and food prices, fiscal policy and insignificant job growth will impact spending this holiday season.
The NRF also predicts that retailers will hire between 480,000 and 500,000 seasonal workers this holiday season, which is comparable to the 495,000 seasonal employees they hired last year. This figure is in addition to the nearly 100,000 jobs the retail industry has added since last August.
“Retailers are optimistic that a combination of strong promotions and lean inventory levels will help them address consumer caution this holiday season,” says Matthew Shay, NRF president and chief executive officer. “While businesses remain concerned over the viability of the economic recovery, there is no doubt that the retail industry is in a better position this year to handle consumer uncertainty than it was in 2008 and 2009.”