Many industry analysts are predicting a good — but not great — holiday season.
The chief economist for the International Council of Shopping Centers, a major retail trade group, estimates that sales will rise 3.5% for November and December combined. Last year, sales during the same period beat expectations, rising 4.4% in what industry analysts called the best holiday results since 2006.
“It’s a time when we do the greatest amount of our business, but it is also a season that defines retailers,” said Jim Sluzewski, a spokesman at Macy’s Inc., which last year saw 28% of its sales in the last two months of the year.
After the recession-plagued 2008 holiday season, the worst in more than four decades, retailers say they’ve become much more savvy about confronting economic challenges. They’re not ordering too much inventory and they’re making sure that prices are budget-friendly.
“We are well prepared,” Sluzewski said. “Our business is very flexible and we have a lot of ways to adjust our business no matter what happens.”
Retailers, which ring up as much 40% of their annual sales during the last two months of the year, also are relying on a tried-and-true rule: Consumers love to splurge when the holidays roll around.