The National Retail Federation (NRF) expects holiday retail sales in November and December—excluding automobiles, gasoline and restaurants—to increase between 3.6 and 4 percent for a total of $678.75 billion to $682 billion, up from $655.8 billion last year.
Christmas falls 32 days after Thanksgiving this year, one day more than last year, and is on a Monday instead of Sunday, giving consumers an extra weekend day to complete their shopping, according to the NRF.
This year’s forecast would meet or exceed last year’s growth of 3.6 percent and the five-year average of 3.5 percent. While recent hurricanes are not expected to have a significant long-term effect on the economy, NRF is issuing this year’s forecast as a range rather than the usual fixed percentage because the impact of the storms on economic indicators has made it difficult to make a more precise forecast.
NRF’s forecast is based on an economic model using several indicators including consumer credit, disposable personal income and previous monthly retail sales. The overall number includes the non-store category (direct-to-consumer, kiosks and online sales). For historic sales information visit NRF’s Holiday Headquarters and the Retail Insight Center.