WASHINGTON–The National Retail Federation said total holiday sales at the nation’s retailers will rise 3.8 percent, up from the 2.8 percent growth it had previously projected.
This would bring total holiday sales to a record $469.1 billion, NRF said. Although that 3.8 percent growth rate is less than the 5.2 percent actual sales growth during the 2010 holidays, it is still above the 10-year average growth rate of 2.6 percent.
Matthew Shay, NRF’s president and CEO, said retailers feel somewhat better about their prospects for the holidays after strong sales in October and November, along with a successful Black Friday weekend. In addition, a recent NRF survey found that holiday shoppers had completed less of their holiday shopping through the second week of December than in previous year, indicating that there is plenty of holidays shopping left to do.
Jack Kleinhenz, NRF’s chief economist, said shoppers continue to stick to their budgets in buying gifts, but “have continuously proven they have the capacity to spend, and we are encouraged by this and the recent sales growth we have seen so far this year.”
Shay cautioned that the debt crisis in Europe and “political wrangling” in the nation’s capital could still affect consumer spending during the rest of the holiday season and into the New Year.