Safer stores, resilient shoppers and the growing popularity of buying online could boost holiday sales by as much as 5.2% this year, according to the National Retail Federation.
If this bears out, the federation’s projection of 3.6% to 5.2% increases would beat the national average holidays sales increases of the past five years. The projection excludes auto sales, gasoline stations and restaurants.
Much of NRF’s optimism includes this year’s 36.7% third quarter increase in ecommerce sales. It also believes shoppers are looking to lift their spirits during a trying pandemic year.
“After all they’ve been through, we think there’s going to be a psychological factor that they owe it to themselves and their families to have a better-than-normal holiday,” said NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz. “There are risks to the economy if the virus continues to spread, but as long as consumers remain confident and upbeat, they will spend for the holiday season.”
NRF expects retailers to hire between 475,000 and 575,000 seasonal workers to help accommodate additional demand during the holiday season. That compares with 562,000 in 2019. Some of the hiring may have been pulled forward into October as many retailers have implemented holiday sales campaigns earlier than in the past.
Retailers across the country and in Washington State have invested billions of dollars to ensure the health and safety of customers and employees. WR will continue to work with state and local government officials to keep retailers open and the economy recovering during the pandemic.