NRF Offers Optimistic Forecast for Holiday Sales and Hires

The National Retail Federation (NRF) expects sales (excluding auto, gas, and restaurant sales) to increase 4.1 percent to $616.9 billion in November and December, higher than 2013’s 3.1 percent increase during that same time frame. This would mark the first time since 2011 that holiday sales would increase more than 4 percent.

Holiday sales on average have grown 2.9 percent over the past 10 years, including 2014’s estimates, and are expected to represent approximately 19.2 percent of the retail industry’s annual sales of $3.2 trillion.

NRF’s holiday sales forecast is based on an economic model using several indicators including consumer credit, disposable personal income, and previous monthly retail sales releases. It now includes direct-to-consumer, kiosk, and online sales.

Additionally, NRF expects between 725,000 and 800,000 new seasonal employers for the holiday shopping season, potentially more than retailers hired in 2013.

NRF’s shop.org division expects online sales to grow 8 to 11 percent more than last holiday season.

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Average Parent Will Spend $600-plus While Back-to-School Shopping

The National Retail Federation’s 2012 Back-to-School spending survey, conducted by BIGinsight, reveals that the average American with children in grades K-12 will spend $688.62 on their children, up nearly $80.00 from last year. Total spending is expected to reach $30.3 billion. Combined, K-12 and college spending will reach $83.8 billion, making the back-to-school shopping season the second biggest consumer spending event for retailers, behind the winter holidays.

NRF attributes the jump to more children entering elementary and middle school this fall and parents hitting the stores to replace and replenish what kids had to “make-do” with last year. This summer, parents are expected to spend the most on clothing, accessories, and electronics—approximately $246.10 on clothes and $217.88 on electronics. Nearly 60 percent will invest in an electronic device. Additionally, the average person with children in grades K-12 will spend $129.20 on shoes and $95.44 on school supplies such as notebooks, pencils, and backpacks.

More families say they will shop at department stores and online for school items as they look to get the best bang for their buck. Nearly 60 percent will take advantage of department stores’ private label offerings and exclusive product lines, up from 57 percent last year and the highest in the survey’s 10-year history.  Parents will also scour the Internet for free-shipping and other promotions. Nearly 40 percent will take their school shopping lists online, up from 31.7 percent last year and nearly doubling since 2007, when 21.4 percent planned to shop online.

This post was originally written by Lindsay Gordon and published by ToyBook.com. For more news, visit www.toybook.com, follow The Toy Book on Twitter, and like The Toy Book on Facebook. The Toy Book is a bimonthly trade magazine covering the toy industry, published by Adventure Publishing Group.