National Retail Federation Expects Holiday Sales To Increase 3.6% To $655.8 Billion

By Markets MarketWatch Pulse

The National Retail Federation said Tuesday that it expects sales for November and December excluding autos, gas and restaurant sales, to increase 3.6% to $655.8 billion. This is higher than the 10-year average growth of 2.5%. Non-store sales, which includes e-commerce, are expected to increase 7% to 10%. The organization believes consumers are in a stronger position from previous years, with steady gains in jobs and incomes. "Increased geopolitical uncertainty, the presidential election outcome and unseasonably warm weather are the main issues at play with the greatest potential to shake consumer confidence and impact shopping patterns," said NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz in a statement. Holiday sales increased 3.0% in 2015. Seasonal employment among retailers is expected to grow between 640,000 and 690,000.

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