The National Retail Federation (NRF) has released its latest forecast for the upcoming holiday season and the results are surprisingly positive. As usual, the forecast excludes automobile dealers, gasoline stations and restaurants. It also takes into account a variety of indicators including employment, wages, consumer confidence, disposable income, consumer credit and previous retail sales. All things considered, the NRF expects sales throughout November and December to rise above last year between 3.8- and 4.2 percent. If those numbers are correct, total sales for the season could fall somewhere between $727.9 and $730.7 billion.
“The U.S. economy is continuing to grow and consumer spending is still the primary engine behind that growth,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said. “Nonetheless, there has clearly been a slowdown brought on by considerable uncertainty around issues including trade, interest rates, global risk factors and political rhetoric. Consumers are in good financial shape and retailers expect a strong holiday season. However, confidence could be eroded by continued deterioration of these and other variables."
Because of how Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and Christmas fall on the calendar this year, the 2019 shopping period is the shortest it’s been since 2013. Still, retailers feel they need some extra hands to help with the hustle-and-bustle, which is why seasonal hiring expected to increase as well. The NRF expects retailers to hire between 530,000 and 590,000 temporary workers for 2019 which is in line to trump last year’s 554,000.