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NRF Forecasts Holiday Sales Increase of 2.3 Percent

Download NRF's 2010 Holiday Survival Kit

For Immediate Release
Kathy Grannis (202) 783-7971 or grannisk@nrf.com
www.nrf.com/holidays

NRF Forecasts Holiday Sales Increase of 2.3 Percent
--Total Holiday Sales Expected to Reach $447 Billion—

Washington, October 6, 2010 – After a ho-hum 2009 and a disastrous 2008, holiday retail sales* are expected to increase a more moderate 2.3 percent this year to $447.1 billion, according to the National Retail Federation. While that growth remains slightly lower than the ten-year average holiday sales increase of 2.5 percent, it would be a marked improvement from both last year’s 0.4 percent uptick and the dismal 3.9 percent holiday sales decline retailers experienced in 2008.

“While many consumers will be wishing for apparel and electronics this holiday season, retailers are hoping the holidays bring sustainable economic growth,” said NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay. “Though the retail industry is on stronger footing than last year, companies are closely watching key economic indicators like employment and consumer confidence before getting too optimistic that the recession is behind them.”

Holiday Sales Growth by Year, 1996 - 2010

Much like they have in previous years, retailers are expected to focus on supply chain efficiencies and inventory control this holiday season to limit their exposure to excess merchandise and unplanned markdowns. Companies are also expected to leverage new channels – like mobile – to drive sales and provide added service to customers who want to shop anytime, anywhere.

“While consumers have shown they are once again willing to spend on what’s important to them, they will still be very conscientious about price,” said NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz, Ph.D.  “Retailers are expected to compensate for this fundamental shift in shopper mentality by offering significant promotions throughout the holiday season and emphasizing value throughout their marketing efforts.”

NRF’s holiday sales forecast is based on an economic model using several indicators including employment, industrial production, disposable personal income and previous monthly retail sales reports. The retail climate has been uneven for most of 2010 as sales have not been able to maintain momentum due to concerns about the viability of the economic recovery.

PRESS AND ANALYSTS: For more insight on what to expect this holiday season, join NRF for a media briefing today at 1 pm ET with NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz, Ph.D. and BIGresearch Senior Analyst Pam Goodfellow. On the call, Kleinhenz will present the rationale and metrics behind NRF’s holiday forecast along with economic expectations for the remainder of 2010. In addition, Goodfellow will present recent survey data including consumer confidence, credit card spending, and a 90-day financial outlook. Click here to register.

As the world's largest retail trade association and the voice of retail worldwide, the National Retail Federation's global membership includes retailers of all sizes, formats and channels of distribution as well as chain restaurants and industry partners from the U.S. and more than 45 countries abroad. In the U.S., NRF represents the breadth and diversity of an industry with more than 1.6 million American companies that employ nearly 25 million workers and generated 2009 sales of $2.3 trillion.www.nrf.com

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* NRF defines “holiday sales” as retail industry sales in the months of November and December. Retail industry sales include most traditional retail categories including discounters, department stores, grocery stores, and specialty stores, and exclude sales at automotive dealers, gas stations, and restaurants.

** Holiday retail sales for the past seven years have been updated based on revisions from the U.S. Department of Commerce. The most up-to-date statistics on previous holiday season sales numbers and growth can be found on page 6 of NRF’s 2010 Holiday Survival Kit.