November 4, 1999
Holiday Indicators Are Positive
Based on the booming economy, forecasters predict a 6% to 6.5% increase in retail sales this holiday season compared to 1998.
In a joint survey by business consulting firm Deloitte & Touche and the National Retail Federation, consumers said they plan to spend 4.3% more than last year, while retailers predict a 4.4% increase for the 1999 holiday season. Considering the strength of housing values, the stock market and consumer confidence, along with low unemployment rates, Deloitte & Touche and the NRF predict sales to reach even higher.
Consumers plan to spend an average of $849 this year and 79% say they plan to spend more than last year. They'll tap in to even more retail channels in 1999 too. The survey shows 80% of consumers plan to shop at discount department stores; 42% will use catalogs for holiday shopping and 10% will shop on-line. Traditional department stores are losing ground, although next to discounters, respondents said they planned to spend the most money in the higher-priced department stores. Despite the strong economy, responding consumers are even more interested in bargains; they rated "price promotions or sales" as the No. 1 reason to shop at a store.
- by Stacey King