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Retailers Predict Holiday Sales Increase

A survey released yesterday by Hay Group, a global management consultancy, reported that 68 percent of retailers expect holiday sales to increase this year. An overwhelming majority–89 percent–say they are not planning to offer deeper discount

An overwhelming majority–89 percent–say they are not planning to offer deeper discounts on Black Friday; while 94 percent will not discount on Cyber Monday this year.

Sixty-three percent of retailers plan to start promotions in November, but some early birds plan to begin in October (13 percent), September (6 percent) and even August (6 percent), according to the Hay Group report.

Despite this, hiring plans remain conservative, with 67 percent of retailers hiring at the same level as last year and 25 percent hiring fewer seasonal workers.

The double-digit growth in e-commerce sales this year signals a shift in seasonal employment. Nineteen percent of retailers say they will hire fewer seasonal staffers in stores this year; while 19 percent will hire more seasonal workers in distribution centers to support the uptick in online orders.

“Retailers have a tempered optimism about the holidays this year," says Craig Rowley, vice president and global practice leader for Hay Group’s Retail practice. "Cost inflation has made profitability more elusive, and retailers are trimming the fat with staffing and store hours.”

For the survey, Hay Group analyzed responses from 21 major U.S. retailers including Charlotte Russe, Coldwater Creek, DSW, Macy's, Michael's Stores and Pier 1 Imports.

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