The National Retail Federation is projecting holiday retail sales growth of 4.3% to 4.8% over 2017 in November and December, or $717.45 billion to $720.89 billion, up from an average jump of 3.9% over the past five years.
“Our forecast reflects the overall strength of the industry,” said Matthew Shay, CEO and President of NRF in a release. “Thanks to the healthy economy and strong consumer confidence, we believe that this holiday season will continue to reflect the growth we’ve seen over the past year.
While there is some concern over the impact of the escalating trade war between the U.S., China and Europe and other countries, “we are optimistic that the pace of economic activity will continue to increase through the end of the year,” Shay said.
Holiday sales in 2017 were $687.87 billion, a 5.3% increase over 2016 and the largest gain since a 5.2% increase in 2010 post-recession.
“Last year’s strong results were thanks to growing wages, stronger employment and higher confidence, complemented by anticipation of tax cuts that led consumers to spend more than expected,” said Jack Kleinhenz, Chief Economist for NRF. “With this forecast, we continue to see strong momentum from consumers as they do the heavy lifting in supporting our economy.
The combination of increased job creation, improved wages, low inflation and an increase in net worth should equal greater consumer confidence and spending, Kleinhenz said.
NRF also predicts that retailers will hire between 585,000 and 650,000 temporary workers this holiday season, up from 582,500 in 2017.