Deloitte is expecting a 3.5% to 4% increase in sales this holiday season, a decline from the 5.2% increase last year. Analysts expect holiday sales both online and in-store to total between $961 billion and $965 billion. Deloitte expects online and mail order sales to increase 8.5% to 9%. "An improving labor market, increasing home values and relief at the pump gave more Americans reason to believe the economic recovery was gaining real traction this year," said Daniel Bachman, Deloitte's senior U.S. economist, in a statement. "However, while retail holiday sales are expected to rise, the increase may be smaller than last year due to the lingering effects of flat personal income growth in the first quarter." The firm also expects digital interactions to influence 64 percent, or $434 billion, of sales this year, citing research that shows people who use a device before or while they're shopping in stores are more likely to make a purchase and spend more. ShopperTrak forecasts a 2.4% increase in holiday store sales. Online sales weren't included in that forecast. And AlixPartners is expecting 2.8% to 3.4% sales growth, according to Reuters.
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