National retail federation forecasts holiday sales to increase 3.7 percent

by Stephen Garner

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Holiday sales are expected to increase 3.7 percent to $630.5 billion, which is significantly higher than the 10-year average of 2.5 percent, according to the National Retail Federation’s latest report. Additionally, NRF is forecasting online sales to increase between 6 and 8 percent to as much as $105 billion.

“With several months of solid retail sales behind us, we’re heading into the all-important holiday season fully expecting to see healthy growth,” said NRF president and CEO Matthew Shay in a statement. “However, while economic indicators have improved in several areas, Americans remain somewhat torn between their desire and their ability to spend; the fact remains consumers still have the weight of the economy on their minds, further explaining the complex retail spending environment we are seeing right now. We expect families to spend prudently and deliberately, although still less constrained than what we saw even two years ago.”

NRF’s holiday sales forecast is based on an economic model using several indicators including consumer credit, disposable personal income and previous monthly retail sales releases. It also includes the non-store categories such as direct-to-consumer, kiosks and online sales.

NRF is also expecting retailers to hire between 700,000 and 750,000 seasonal workers this holiday season, which is in line with last year’s 714,000 new holiday positions.