Shoppers expected to spend $1.1T at US retailers this holiday season

U.S. retailers are on track for a big holiday, according to an annual survey from Deloitte.

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The consultancy firm sees U.S. retail sales surging between 4.5 percent and 5 percent during the November to January timeframe as retailers rake in $1.1 trillion in sales. Last holiday season, retail sales rose 3.1 percent on $1.09 trillion of sales, according to the Census Bureau.

“The projected holiday season growth is, in part, due to the current health of the labor market,” said Daniel Bachman, Deloitte’s U.S. economic forecaster.

“Near record-low unemployment rates, coupled with continued monthly job creation, may encourage people to spend more during the holiday season. The economy is still growing, albeit at a slower rate. Additionally, we continue to see consumer confidence elevated, which also helps boost holiday spending.”

The U.S. unemployment rate in August held at 3.7 percent, near a 50-year low, as average hourly wages rose at a 3.2 percent year-over-year pace. The U.S. economy grew at a 2 percent rate in the second quarter, down from 3.1 percent in the first quarter.

Deloitte’s forecast comes a little more than a month after the U.S. Office of the Trade Representative said it would delay tariffs on certain Chinese goods, cell phones, laptop computers, video game consoles, toys, computer monitors, kitchen items, sports equipment, footwear and clothing until Dec. 15, after the majority of holiday shopping is completed.

“We’re doing this for Christmas season, just in case some of the tariffs would have an impact on U.S. customers, which so far – they’ve had virtually none,” Trump told reporters. “They won’t be relevant to the Christmas shopping season.”

A separate forecast released Tuesday by AlixPartners sees retail sales rising between 4.4 percent and 5.3 percent this holiday season despite “unprecedented uncertainty.”

“From on-again, off-again tariffs, to a growing chorus concerned about a recession, a looming election and geopolitical uncertainty, this season is unlike any in recent memory,” said Joel Bines, global co-leader of the retail practice at AlixPartners and one of the contributors to this year’s forecast.

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“While our forecast is bullish, we are nevertheless advising clients to be nimble.”