Carl Steidtmann

NEW YORK — Retailers should expect small gains in 2011 holiday sales, Deloitte forecast on Monday. The company’s retail and distribution practice expects total holiday sales to reach between $873 and $877 billion, representing a 2.5 to 3% increase over last season. "Consumer spending was on the rise for several months despite dampened confidence in the economy among U.S. households," said Carl Steidtmann, Deloitte's chief economist. "Those earlier gains have begun to flatten and may be tempered by persistent weakness in the housing and employment sectors and pressures from the European debt crisis. Despite some relief in energy prices,

The primary focus throughout the recent National Retail Federation Convention & Expo in New York was how multichannel retailers can not only survive the recession, but also transform and emerge stronger once the economy picks up. During a session on navigating the turbulent economy, Carl Steidtmann, chief economist and director of consumer business for Deloitte Development LLP, noted that one of retailers’ biggest challenges is to give consumers “the will to spend.”

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