NRF Forecasts Solid Holiday Sales Growth
The National Retail Federation (NRF) forecasts that holiday sales will rise between 3.8 percent and 4.2 percent, even as uncertainty looms over an escalating trade war with China. The holiday sales forecast, announced Thursday, marks an increase from the disappointing 2.1 percent growth seen in the November and December 2018 period that came well short of the group’s prediction. Last year’s holiday sales were hurt by turmoil over President Donald Trump’s trade policy with China and a delay in data collection by nearly a month because of a government shutdown. The NRF expects online and other non-store sales, which are included in the total, to increase between 11 percent and 14 percent, for the holiday period.
Total Retail's Take: This is welcome news for retailers and brands, and perhaps a bit surprising given consumers' concerns of price increases as a result of tariffs levied on goods imported from China. Nearly 80 percent of consumers surveyed by the NRF in September were concerned that prices could go up because of tariffs. And as is now the norm, online sales this holiday season are forecast to increase more YoY than brick-and-mortar purchases. Furthermore, as buy online, pick up in-store (BOPIS) programs become more widespread, I believe we will see more consumers use this option for holiday purchasing, saving on shipping costs and getting their gifts in-hand and not having to worry about late deliveries.