The National Retail Federation expects a good but hardly great holiday season, with sales online and off expected to rise 3.9 percent during the months of November and December.
If met, the forecast would lift sales for the season to $602.12 billion, up from $579.49 billion in 2012, with a percentage increase in excess of the 3.5 percent uplift experienced last year. Sales growth in the last 10 years has averaged 3.3 percent, bookmarked by a 6.8 percent increase in 2004 and the sole decline during the period, 4.4 percent negative, in the recession-ravaged year of 2008.
Online sales growth, included in the overall forecast, is expected to land between 13 and 15 percent this year, taking it as high as $82 billion, but below the 15.5 percent growth reported for the final three months of 2012 by the Commerce Department.
Matthew Shay, NRF’s president and chief executive officer, told WWD the projection for holiday includes possible effects from the current government shutdown and a possible confrontation later this month over the debt ceiling. “There is a sense of optimism that this can be resolved,” he said. “This should all be long behind us before we get to Nov. 1, and if that’s the case, November and December could be very solid.”
If that’s the case, retailers would be heading into holiday without a fiscal showdown looming, unlike last year, when the arrival of sequestration put a damper on holiday sales. However, he acknowledged that, were there to be a prolonged government shutdown, “the economic effect would be felt across the entire economy and beyond the impact on those being furloughed.”
Shay said that sales had shifted in recent months away from discretionary purchases and toward higher-ticket items as many consumers sought to lock in low interest rates on loans in anticipation of “tapering” by the Federal Reserve. More detailed numbers on NRF’s expectations by sector, derived from consumer interviews, will be released shortly. The forecast is based on econometric data including consumer confidence, consumer credit and disposable income.
Shay characterized key economic metrics, such as job and gross domestic product growth, as “teetering on incremental for years. This is better than the mentality of a few years ago, where people were thinking as flat as ‘the new up.’ There are underlying economic fundamentals that are showing signs of strength, but again, we’re left to balance them with uncertainty that is generally self-inflicted.”
He added that, in conversations with the Washington-based organization’s members, he sensed expectations of another highly promotional holiday season, with continuing integration of digital technology helping to make retailers “more customer-centric and capable of delivering value” than in the past.
My character, Dinah Madani, is just the coolest, [most] badass woman imaginable," says @amberroserevah. The actress stars in @marvel's newest series on @netflix, @thepunisher. To prepare for her role, Revah sat down with Homeland agents to get a real sense of with Dinah's day-to-day life is really like. Read our full interview on WWD.com. #wwdeye (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
A scene from the 91st annual @macys Thanksgiving Day Parade. The parade, which boasts 50 million TV viewers and 3.5 million on-site spectators, is considered one of the largest and most watched parades in the world. (📷: Jason Szenes/EPA-REX)
The circus came to @bloomingdales 59th Street on Tuesday night and lit up Lexington Avenue with acrobatic dancers, death-defying knife throwing, sword swallowing and aerial acts with no net. The 45 minutes of theatrics built up to unveiling the holiday windows depicting @swarovski crystal-encrusted circus pieces and scenes from “The Greatest Showman” – songs from the soundtrack included. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: Joshua Scott)
The psychedelic fashion that pervaded the ’60s is back with an exhibit at the @museumofcityny. “Mode New York: Fashion Takes a Trip” chronicles the changing styles from 1960 through 1973 and features designers such as @ysl, @oscardelarenta and more. The exhibition, which is on display through April 1, is organized into four periods: First Lady Fasion, Youthquake, New Bohemia and New Nonchalance. Pictured here is model Pat Bardonella during the Garvey Day Parade in 1968. (📷: @kwamebphoto) #wwdeye #wwdfashion
“People should be a lot more honest in expressing both the dark and light of themselves. We need to give each other the space to do that because it’s the only way we can grow and evolve,” says @noelwells of her new film “Mr. Roosevelt,” which is largely based on her own struggles. Unexpectedly leaving @nbcsnl in 2014 after just one season, Wells felt set back in her self-esteem and career trajectory. She quickly refocused her energy to more personal projects, which led to the completion of “Mr. Roosevelt.” Read the rest of WWD’s interview with the “Master of None” actress on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
@barbrastreisand is giving fans a chance to see her perform up close in a new concert series, which makes its debut on @Netflix today. From behind-the-scenes takes to her concert performance in Miami last December, the two-hour streaming special captures Streisand in her element. Pictured here is the singer/actress photographed for WWD in 1963. (📷: Palmieri Tony) #wwdeye #wwdarchive
@chanel and @pharrell dropped what’s being dubbed as the world’s most exclusive sneakers yesterday. The Adidas Originals NMD Hu, which Williams designed in collaboration with Chanel and @adidasoriginals, has a waiting list of over 120K people who pre-registered online at chanelatcolette.fr –– and only 500 pairs are on sale. The singer predicted the resale value of the shoes could reach $40K. Read the full interview on WWD.com. Link in bio. #wwdfashion (📷: Dominique Maître)
@imanshumpert is diving deeper into his creative endeavors and relaunching his clothing line, Post 90s, and is helping to raise money for the hurricane victims in St. Maarten with a jersey he’s designed with his brother. The Cleveland Cavaliers player talked to WWD about kneeling during the national anthem, working with fashion brands and how he wants to be more than an @nba player. Read the interview on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: George Chinese)