The National Retail Federation foresees that national holiday sales will increase 3.8% to 4.2% this year. It attributes its confidence to job growth and higher wages that leave families with money and a willingness to spend.
NRF warned, though, that the effects of current trade tariffs and a highly-partisan Presidential campaign next year add difficulty to making an accurate sales prediction.
“There has clearly been a slowdown brought on by considerable uncertainty around issues including trade, interest rates, global risk factors and political rhetoric,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said. “Consumers are in good financial shape and retailers expect a strong holiday season.”
Last year’s sales increase was an unusually small 2.1% amid a government shutdown, stock market volatility, tariffs and other issues.
Here is a sampling of reaction to the announcement:
- Forbes.com reported that weather factors, though not part of NRF’s forecast, also could be a factor in determining final sales results
- Associated Press reported that consumer borrowing increased at a solid pace in August, helped by the biggest jump in auto and student loans in three years. Observers watch borrowing as a measure of consumer interest in spending.
- HRDIVE.Com reported that Target would be hiring more than 130,000 seasonal employees to handle the holiday rush of shoppers and sales. It observed that employers may need to get creative to make hires because unemployment is at a 50-year low.
- Imports of retail merchandise from overseas are expected to reach their highest levels in November as companies try to avoid new tariffs scheduled to go into effect in December. Read more.