Despite a lackluster summer, the mood among retailers, according to a monthly survey released by the National Retail Federation (NRF) on Oct. 7, is one of renewed optimism. The NRF’s retail sector performance index for September increased by 7.9 points from August to an “above-normal” reading of 56. “Not only were retailers feeling more optimistic in September,” said NRF president/CEO Tracy Mullin in a statement, “but they are also looking ahead to the holiday season with great enthusiasm.”
The survey’s six-month demand outlook rose 14.9 points to 65, its largest reading since May. The NRF attributes the September survey’s solid results to above-normal readings in employment (52.5) and average transaction per customer (50.0). Nevertheless, sales (47.5) and traffic (42.5) both came in below normal, but ahead of August.