Holiday Chain-Store Sales Projected for 3.4 Percent Rise, Says ICSC

Holidays Retail SalesNEW YORK-The International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) has forecast an increase of 3.4 percent in U.S. chain-store sales for the upcoming holiday season.

Michael Niemira, ICSC vice president of research and chief economist, said retailers are poised to have a better holiday season this year than last year, in spite of consumers’ “subdued spending mood. With leaner inventories, retailers can expect their prices and margins to remain stable, which is another good indicator of stronger sales.”

The council made its prediction even though consumers are facing economic and political uncertainties such as higher payroll taxes, the shutdown of the federal government and the “questionable costs” of the Affordable Care Act. An ICSC statement noted that holiday hiring, which it said correlates to holiday spending, is expected to rise 0.5 percent this year.