WASHINGTON-Holiday sales this year should rise 4.1 percent to $586.1 billion, according to a forecast from the National Retail Federation and shop.org, the online digital retail website.
The predicted increase is more than the 10-year holiday average sales increase of 3.5 percent. Holiday sales in 2011 gained 5.6 percent over 2010. Matthew Shay, NRF’s president and CEO, said this year’s forecast is the most optimistic from the two organizations since the beginning of the recession.
The joint statement from the two organizations said the forecast is tempered by “unimpressive job and income growth and an unemployment rate stuck at 8 percent. However, positive indicators are emerging that show a cautious but capable consumer, such as increases in confidence and home prices.”
In addition, shop.org projected that online holiday sales will jump 12 percent over the 2011 holiday season, totaling as much as $96 billion. “Online retail has been a bright spot for years, and we don’t expect that trend to change anytime soon, especially with the growth in mobile,” Shay said.