Online sales projected to grow by 12 percent over last year
The National Retail Federation is forecasting “solid holiday sales growth” this year, which should help to make the year’s biggest shopping bright for retailers grappling with economic uncertainty.
The organization is projecting that holiday sales will increase 4.1 percent to $586.1 billion. This holiday forecast will not match last year’s actual 5.6 percent growth, but it is higher than the 10-year average holiday sales increase of 3.5 percent, the NRF said.
NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay called its 2012 holiday forecast “the most optimistic” since the recession. “In spite of the uncertainties that exist in our economy and among sonsumers, we believe we’ll see solid holiday sales growth this year,” he said in a statement.
The organization's chief economist, Jack Kleinhenz called the forecast “a very pragmatic look at what to expect this year given the current rate of economic growth. There’s still some general anxiety amongst consumers when it comes to how the state of the economy is impacting their spending plans, but retailers can expect to see excitement around their promotions and plenty of bargain hunters both online and in stores in the coming months."
Shop.org is forecasting that online holiday sales in November and December could reach to as much as $96 billion, a 12 percent growth over last year. The U.S. Department of Commerce estimates total 2011 fourth waurter e-commerce sales increased 15 percent. in online holiday sales.
The NRF is also estimating that retailers will hire between 585,000 to 625,000 seasonal employees this year. Last year, retailers hired 607,000 seasonal workers. Outplacement firm Challenger, Gray and Christmas’s annual holiday hiring outlook released last week projects seasonal hiring could reach 700,000.
Macy's has announced it would hire around 80,000 seasonal workers this season, up 2.6 percent from last year. Kohl's plans to increase its seasonal hiring this year to 52,700, up from 40,000 in 2011. Amazon, too, announced plans to add 5,000 seasonal workers at its distribution facilities.
The winter holiday shopping season can account for as much as 40 percent of a retailer’s revenue for the year.
Donald Liebenson writes news and features for Millionaire Corner. He has been published in the Chicago Tribune, The Chicago Sun-Times, The Los Angeles Times, Fiscal Times, Entertainment Weekly, Huffington Post, and other outlets. He has also served as a marketing writer for Chicago-based Questar Entertainment and distributor Baker & Taylor.
A graduate of the University of Southern California, he is married with a college-age son. He also writes extensively about entertainment.