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NRF sees higher holiday growth

Retail Editor 2, Lissa Wyman -- Home Textiles Today, October 3, 2013

Washington - The National Retail Federation is projecting retail sales for the November/December period to rise 3.9% to $602.1 billion on top of last year's 3.5% growth. There is one caveat, however: the duration of the current government shutdown, which Goldman Sachs yesterday estimated is leaching $400 million a daily from the economy in lost federal compensation alone.

While NRF described retailers as generally optimistic about the holiday season, it noted the outlook depends upon what transpires in Washington over the next 45 days. "Without action, we face the potential of losing the faith Americans have in their leaders, and the pursuant decrease in consumer confidence," the association warned.
NRF's e-commerce division, Shop.org, projects online sales to jump 13% to 15% during holiday to reach $82.0 billion. Last year, ecommerce grew at a similar pace.
"In addition to researching what their peers are saying online about products and gifts this holiday season, consumers will use the buy online pick-up in store option, retailers' apps and mobile websites to find something special for their loved ones, said NRF president and ceo Matthew Shay.
The trade association estimates retailers will hire 720,000 to 780,000 seasonal workers for the season. Last year, the industry took on 720,500 holiday works, a 13% increase from 2011.
NRF's forecast is rosier than ShopperTrak's recent estimate of a 2.4% increase in holiday sales as well as the The International Council of Shopping Centers' (ICSC) expectation of a 3.4% sales increase. The 10-year average for holiday sales growth is 3.3%, according to NRF.

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