Holiday sales expected to rise almost 4%
Washington--The National Retail Federation (NRF) predicts that sales in November and December will increase 3.9 percent when compared with last year but warns that number could be impacted if the federal government remains shut down for a prolonged period.
In releasing its forecast Thursday, the Washington-based retail trade organization stated that its prediction is “somewhat hinging” on the actions of Congress and the Obama administration over the next 45 days.
Monday marked the seventh day of the federal government shutdown. In addition, Congress and the president have another fight ahead, as the Oct. 17 deadline for raising the government’s borrowing limit looms.
“Without action, we face the potential of losing the faith Americans have in their leaders, and the pursuant decrease in consumer confidence,” the NRF stated.
The NRF’s prediction for 2013 holiday sales falls in between the 4.5 percent increase forecasted by Deloitte and the 2.4 percent increase metrics firm ShopperTrak predicted. Those forecasts were issued last month, prior to the Oct. 1 shutdown of the federal government.
Also on Thursday, Shop.org, the NRF’s online arm, released its 2013 forecast for holiday sales growth, stating that it expects online sales to grow between 13 and 15 percent as compared with last holiday season, reaching as much as $82 billion.
Last year, final data from the U.S. Department of Commerce showed that fourth quarter 2012 (October through December) online sales grew 16 percent year-over-year.
NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said that online and mobile will continue to be areas of growth for retailers, as cost-conscious consumers use the web to do their research and “get the best bang for their buck.”
In addition to researching peer reviews online, this holiday season consumers will use stores’ buy online, pick up in-store options, as well as their applications and mobile websites.