The International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) is forecasting a 3.4% sales increase for the traditional November-December holiday period from last year — which spells good news for retailers.
ICSC also anticipates that the other two measures of U.S. industry holiday sales — shopping-center inclined sales +3.4%, and chain-store sales +2.0 — will both increase over last year.
While the industry and the U.S. economy have gone through a mini-cycle slowdown the last three quarters, there are indicators of positive growth this season, despite retailers’ mixed outlook. Although consumers have faced some political and economic uncertainty — higher payroll taxes, concern about a federal government shutdown and questionable costs of the Affordable Care Act — this year’s sales are looking to be better than last year’s.
“We’re going to see a more subdued spending mood from consumers, but what counts is that we’re on track to have a better holiday sales season that last year,” said Michael P. Niemira, VP of research and chief economist for ICSC. “With leaner inventories, retailers can expect their prices and margins to remain stable, which is another good indicator of stronger sales.”
Additionally, holiday hiring is highly correlated with holiday spending, and can also forecast a stronger sales performance. It appears that holiday hiring will be up 0.5% from last year.
Founded in 1957, ICSC is a global trade association of the shopping center industry. Its more than 60,000 members in more than 100 countries include shopping center owners, developers, managers, marketing specialists, investors, retailers and brokers, as well as academics and public officials. As the global industry trade association, ICSC links with more than 25 national and regional shopping center councils throughout the world.