CHICAGO–Retail chief marketing officers polled by consulting firm BDO predicted a modest 2.9 percent increase in total holiday sales this year, reflecting a cautious outlook based on lagging consumer confidence and lingering unemployment.
In a statement about the survey findings, BDO said the projected sales increase was less than the 3.5 percent rise forecast in the same survey last year. Overall, 41 percent of the respondents said sales would increase, down from 52 percent last year and 47 percent in 2009. The caution is reflected in inventory purchase plans, with 65 percent of the participants saying their inventory purchases have stayed about the same compared with 2010.
Doug Hart, partner in BDO’s Retail and Consumer Product Practice, said, “With a weak jobs outlook and the economy still in flux, most retailers are not expecting big sales increases this holiday season.” Hart did note that the chief marketing officers at larger retailers were more optimistic about the holidays. Two-thirds of respondents from this group said they expect an increase in overall holiday sales.