ShopperTrak, the Chicago based research firm, predicts healthy gains for retailers during the critical winter holidays. The pace of growth will be slower than last year, but retail revenue is expected to be up 3.3%. The solid holiday season will follow a back-to-school season that also met expectations.
Though growth is slower than last year, it is still reasonable, considering the difficulty consumers continue to have with unemployment and debt burdens. Store traffic is expected to increase 2.8%, reversing four years of declines and continuing a trend begun earlier this year.
ShopperTrak founder Bill Martin said, “Retailers have reason to be optimistic. We see shoppers visiting more stores, but they’re still not frivolously spending. They’re still buying needs, instead of wants.”
This creates an opportunity for retailers to convert conservative browsers into buyers, particularly during the holiday season. Shoppers are willing to spend, despite their many challenges, but only at trusted stores, on needed purchases. That trend is expected to continue, as the economy recovers at an uneven pace.