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Holiday Sales Will Surprise to the Upside

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prilogo_horizontal_270It is that time of year again. Retail forecasters release their holiday guestimates of sales for the important holiday shopping season. The “season” includes the months of November and December. This is a critical time of year for most retailers, as holiday sales can account for as much as 40 percent of a retailer’s annual revenue. 

Perhaps the most respected and widely followed forecast comes from the National Retail Federation. Back in early October, they anticipated an “average” holiday shopping season, with sales estimated to increase by 2.8 percent versus last year. This is above the 10-year average of 2.6 percent that they have observed, and significantly below last year’s 5.2 percent increase (see Chart 1). Based upon the strong September retail sales results (up 1.1 percent versus August; up 7.9 percent versus last September), and July’s upward revision (+0.3 percent versus the 0.0 percent preliminary estimate), look for the NRF, and many others, to revise their forecasts upward.

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