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National Retail Federation Upgrades Holiday Forecast, Expects Sales to Rise 3.8 Percent to $469.1 Billion
-Strong November Sales, Expected December Spending Lead to Revision-
Washington, December 15, 2011 – With just ten days until Christmas, the National Retail Federation has revised its holiday forecast upward, expecting holiday sales to rise 3.8 percent this year to a record $469.1 billion. NRF’s initial forecast, announced on October 6, called for anticipated sales growth of 2.8 percent. While a 3.8 percent sales increase is considerably above the ten-year average sales increase of 2.6 percent, it is still lower than the 5.2 percent increase the retail industry saw last year.
“After strong sales reports in October and November, along with a successful Black Friday weekend, retailers are cautiously optimistic that this season will turn out better than initially expected, bringing added stability to our recovering economy at a time when America needs it most,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said. “However, a number of factors, including the debt crisis in Europe and continued political wrangling in Washington, could impact consumer spending this holiday season and into 2012.”
The forecast revision comes on the heels of two promising pieces of news. On Tuesday, NRF announced that retail industry sales for November rose 4.5 percent year-over-year. In addition, NRF’s most recent holiday survey found that the average American has completed far less of their holiday shopping than in previous years – an indication that many shoppers bought for themselves in November and have plenty of holiday shopping left to do.
“Consumer spending this holiday season has surpassed expectations, though many shoppers continue to stick to their budgets and buy only what they need,” said NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz. “Despite modest job and income growth, consumers have continuously proven they have the capacity to spend and we are encouraged by this and the recent sales growth we have seen so far this year.”
As the world’s largest retail trade association and the voice of retail worldwide, NRF represents retailers of all types and sizes, including chain restaurants and industry partners, from the United States and more than 45 countries abroad. Retailers operate more than 3.6 million U.S. establishments that support one in four U.S. jobs – 42 million working Americans. Contributing $2.5 trillion to annual GDP, retail is a daily barometer for the nation’s economy. NRF’s Retail Means Jobs campaign emphasizes the economic importance of retail and encourages policymakers to support a Jobs, Innovation and Consumer Value Agenda aimed at boosting economic growth and job creation. www.nrf.com.