A new sales forecast from analytics firm RetailNext threw a little more cold water on the holiday outlook.
The San Jose-based company, which sorts through trillions of data points from 100,000 sensors in stores, predicted sales for the November and December period would gain 2.8 percent, driven largely by a 16.2 percent jump in digitally driven sales. The gains are based on year-over-year total retail sales, excluding automobiles and petroleum.
That’s a more bearish take on the holiday sales season than has generally been assumed. The National Retail Federation projected a 3.7 percent increase while the International Council of Shopping Centers forecast a 3.3 percent gain.
Consumers are paying less at the pump for gasoline, but wage growth and employment have not necessarily kept up broader economic gains.
RetailNext said brick-and-mortar sales this holiday season would vary widely, with electronics, fast fashion, outlet and warehouse clubs posting gains while other chains see declines of 7 to 8 percent.
Digital sales are seeing growing to 11.9 percent of total holiday sales, up from 10.5 percent.
Shelley Kohan, vice president of retail consulting at RetailNext, stressed the growing importance of the omnichannel experience.
“Today’s shopping journeys require retailers to seamlessly share knowledge internally between digital, mobile and physical channels to optimize sales for the enterprise,” Kohan said. “Effectively implementing quick action strategies converging digital and physical channel experiences will build brand loyalty and drive sales, and more important than anything else, it will determine the retail industry’s holiday winners and losers.”