- Kara Driscoll Staff Writer
Holiday retail sales are expected to increase up to 4 percent in November and December compared to last year’s shopping season.
The National Retail Federation announced that it expects holiday retail sales this year – excluding automobiles, gasoline and restaurants – to be around $682 billion, up from $655.8 billion in 2016.
“Our forecast reflects the very realistic steady momentum of the economy and overall strength of the industry,” said NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay. “Although this year hasn’t been perfect, especially with the recent devastating hurricanes, we believe that a longer shopping season and strong consumer confidence will deliver retailers a strong holiday season.”
Retail is the nation’s largest private sector employer, supporting one in four U.S. jobs – 42 million working Americans, according to the NRF.
The winter holidays are the busiest time of year for most retailers, with the industry traditionally hiring extra staff to meet the demand. Retailers are expected to hire between 500,000 and 550,000 temporary workers this holiday season, down from last year’s 575,000, according to the NRF.
Christmas falls 32 days after Thanksgiving this year, one day more than last year, and is on a Monday instead of Sunday, giving consumers an extra weekend day to complete their shopping.
“Consumers continue to do the heavy lifting in supporting our economy, and all the fundamentals are aligned for them to continue doing so during the holidays,” said NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz. “The combination of job creation, improved wages, tame inflation and an increase in net worth all provide the capacity and the confidence to spend.”View full experience