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With unemployment low and consumer confidence high, holiday retail sales for November and December are estimated to increase 3.6 percent to 4 percent to $682.0 billion, up from $655.8 billion in 2016, according to the National Retail Federation.The NRF — the industry’s largest trade group — announced its forecast Tuesday that for the first time used a range in percentage growth, noting that the recent hurricanes in the South would likely impact the second-half retail-sales data.
She began her career at the Inquirer after internships at the Los Angeles Times and Boston Globe.Shay said that, by doing so, it would allow the NRF to provide a more accurate picture of consumer activity over the entire weekend and incorporate Cyber Monday data into the results.NRF lists retail as the nation’s largest private-sector employer, supporting one in four U. jobs, or 42 million working Americans, and contributing $2.6 trillion to the nation’s annual gross domestic product.“And the current state of retail is in a good place, despite all the gloomy stories,” Shay said.“Brick-and-mortar stores have been more effective in doing online, and, likewise, legacy online players are getting better with their brick-and-mortar locations.” With retail employment already up recently, retailers are seeing less of a need to hire seasonal workers for the holidays this year.Kleinhenz said that the current national unemployment rate of 4.4 percent was back to the May 2007 rate, but that it was offset with rising costs in housing and health care’s competing for household dollars.
“Postrecession, consumers are looking for value, and pricing wars are expected to be strong this holiday season among retailers,” he said.
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“Consumers continue to do the heavy lifting in supporting our economy, and all the fundamentals are aligned for them to continue doing so during the holidays,” NRF chief economist Jack Kleinhenz said.
“The combination of job creation, improved wages, tame inflation, and an increase in net worth all provide the capacity and the confidence to spend.” NRF’s forecast is based on an economic model using several indicators, including consumer credit, disposable personal income, and previous monthly retail sales.
The $682 billion figure excludes automobiles, gasoline, and restaurants.