National Retail Federation CEO: Very Optimistic We'll Hit Our Overall Objective for the Season

As online retail becomes an increasingly popular way to shop, brick-and-mortar businesses are looking to find ways to drive traffic into stores, especially during the holiday season.

“That happens through personalization and customization, or it might be service, pricing, selection,” said Matthew Shay, president and CEO of the National Retail Federation. “I think the key indicator here is we need to get in the minds of consumers. They don’t distinguish between a store and online or mobile or order online and pick up in-store. What they want is the experience—what and when they want it. And I think that’s the thing for retailers to focus on is a seamless experience.”

Although some initial data suggests mall traffic this Thanksgiving weekend had declined from last year, Shay said he is confident about what’s ahead for retailers.

“What we normally see is a big run up to the Thanksgiving weekend through Black Friday, Super Saturday, Cyber Monday, and then there is a lull. And then we see a big pick up again toward the end of the year as we get closer to the Christmas holiday. So I think we’re experiencing that pattern right now,” he explained.

Shay added: “It was pretty clear that overall it was a very good start to the holiday season in earlier November and then a great midpoint with the Thanksgiving holiday. So we’re very optimistic that we’ll hit our 3.6% overall objective for the season. And I think there’s momentum and we’re going to see that as we push through to the end of the holiday season.”