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NRF forecasts Christmas increase of 2.3%


October 13, 2010
By National Retail Federation

Oct. 13, 2010 – After a ho-hum 2009 and a disastrous 2008, holiday retail sales in the U.S. are
expected to increase a more moderate 2.3 per cent this year to $447.1
billion, according to the National Retail Federation.

Oct. 13, 2010 – After a ho-hum 2009 and a disastrous 2008, holiday retail sales in the U.S. are
expected to increase a more moderate 2.3 per cent this year to $447.1
billion, according to the National Retail Federation. While that growth remains slightly lower than the ten-year average
holiday sales increase of 2.5 per cent, it would be a marked improvement
from both last year’s 0.4 percent uptick and the dismal 3.9 per cent
holiday sales decline retailers experienced in 2008.

“While many
consumers will be wishing for apparel and electronics this holiday
season, retailers are hoping the holidays bring sustainable economic
growth,” said NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay. “Though the retail
industry is on stronger footing than last year, companies are closely
watching key economic indicators like employment and consumer
confidence before getting too optimistic that the recession is behind
them.”

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Much
like they have in previous years, retailers are expected to focus on
supply chain efficiencies and inventory control this holiday season to
limit their exposure to excess merchandise and unplanned markdowns.
Companies are also expected to leverage new channels – like mobile – to
drive sales and provide added service to customers who want to shop
anytime, anywhere.

“While consumers have shown they are once
again willing to spend on what’s important to them, they will still be
very conscientious about price,” said NRF Chief Economist Jack
Kleinhenz, Ph.D.  “Retailers are expected to compensate for this
fundamental shift in shopper mentality by offering significant
promotions throughout the holiday season and emphasizing value
throughout their marketing efforts.”

NRF’s holiday sales
forecast is based on an economic model using several indicators
including employment, industrial production, disposable personal income
and previous monthly retail sales reports. The retail climate has been
uneven for most of 2010 as sales have not been able to maintain
momentum due to concerns about the viability of the economic recovery.


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