Commentary

Holiday Sales Up 3.6 to 4% Forecasts NRF

The National Retail Federation recently announced, by Ana Serafin Smith, that it expects holiday retail sales in November and December (excluding automobiles, gasoline and restaurants) to increase between 3.6 and 4% for a total of $678.75 billion to $682 billion, up from $655.8 billion last year. 

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NRF President and CEO, Matthew Shay, said “…our forecast reflects the very realistic steady momentum of the economy… overall strength of the industry… especially with… recent devastating hurricanes, we believe that a longer shopping season and strong consumer confidence will deliver retailers a strong holiday season.”

Holiday sales for 2017 are expected to increase by between 3.6-4.0% over 2016. On April 26, 2017, unadjusted estimates of sales were revised by Census for 2016. Growth rates are based on the most comparable data available. NRF holiday spending is defined as the months of November and December.

Historical Holiday Sales ($Billion)

Year

Holiday Sales

2002

$416,416

2003

$437,613

200

4$467,195

2005

$496,040

2006

$512,105

2007

$525,993

2008

$501,536

2009

$502,679

2010

$528,783

2011

$553,307

2012

$567,665

2013

$584,221

2014

$613,343

2015

$633,067

2016

$655,818

2017

$678,750 - $682,000

Source: NRF Holiday Sales, April 2017

Christmas falls 32 days after Thanksgiving this year, says the report, one day more than last year, and is on a Monday instead of Sunday, giving consumers an extra weekend day to complete their shopping. This year’s forecast would meet or exceed last year’s growth of 3.6 percent and the five-year average of 3.5 percent, says the report.

Seasonal Holiday Sales (In Thousands)

Sector

Holiday Sales (Nov/Dec)

TOTAL

% Annual from Holiday

Furniture and home furnishings stores

$20,933

$110,509

18.9%

Electronics and appliance stores

$21,665

$97,600

22.2%

Building mat. and garden equip. and supplies dealers

$56,207

$350,511

16.0%

Food and beverage stores

$123,470

$701,552

17.6%

Health and personal care stores

$57,417

$329,207

17.4%

Clothing stores

$40,742

$186,704

21.8%

Shoe stores

$7,275

$36,130

20.1%

Jewelry stores

$9,407

$32,918

28.6%

Sporting goods, hobby, book, and music stores

$19,431

$88,532

21.9%

Department stores (excl. L.D)

$36,727

$154,652

23.7%

Discount dept. stores (excl. L.D)

$22,062

$98,231

22.5%

Warehouse clubs and superstores

$86,575

$450,551

19.2%

Electronic shopping and mail-order houses

$110,270

$490,857

22.5%

Source: U.S.Census Bureau, 2017

NRF Chief Economist, Jack Kleinhenz, says “… consumers continue to support our economy… fundamentals are aligned… to continue doing so during the holidays… combination of job creation, improved wages, tame inflation and an increase in net worth… provide the capacity and the confidence to spend…”

The forecast is based on an economic model using consumer credit, disposable personal income and previous monthly retail sales. The overall number includes the non-store category (direct-to-consumer, kiosks and online sales). As part of its forecast, NRF expects retailers to hire between 500,000 and 550,000 temporary workers this holiday season, down from last year’s 575,000.

Concluding, the report says that to more accurately capture the entirety of spending on Thanksgiving weekend, NRF this year will release spending data on November 28, the day after Cyber Monday. Doing so will allow NRF to provide a more accurate picture of consumer activity over the entire weekend and incorporate Cyber Monday data into the results, says the report. As consumer behavior evolves, NRF will continue to focus its efforts on providing the most relevant, accurate and insightful analysis of its impact on the retail industry.

For additional information from the NRF, please visit here.

 

 

 

 

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