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NRF Forecasts 2015 Holiday Sales to Increase 3.7%

Retail sales for November and December are expected to increase 3.7 percent to $630 billion, according to new predictions by the National Retail Federation (NRF).

The expected increase bests the 10-year average of 2.5 percent, but is slightly beneath the 4.1 percent growth seen in 2014. The report also forecasts online sales to increase between six and eight percent to as much as $105 billion.

Holiday sales in 2015 are expected to represent approximately 19 percent of the retail industry’s annual sales of $3.2 trillion. The expected growth comes amid lingering economic concerns by many Americans, who remain torn between their desire to buy and their ability to spend, said NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay.

“The fact remains consumers still have the weight of the economy on their minds, further explaining the complex retail spending environment we are seeing right now,” said Shay. “We expect families to spend prudently and deliberately, though still less constrained than what we saw even two years ago.”

Slower job creation and income growth as well as the potential for yet another government-disrupting shutdown are all factors that could impact holiday shoppers this year.

“Similar to last year in the sense we’re coming off a rather disappointing first half, this holiday season brings to light several crosscurrents that still exist for American households,” said NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz. “While confidence data is encouraging, slower job growth in 2015, deflationary retail prices and the mix of consumer spending somewhat shifting toward big ticket items and services, as well as the wild card in our government spending debates, will all contribute to the slower growth rate of sales expected for the holiday season.”

“All said, there’s no reason to doubt that we will see solid retail sales growth in the final two months of the year,” continued Kleinhenz.