NEW YORK — Americans are expected to spend at a faster clip than last year for the critical holiday season, helped by an economy that should only continue to pick up, according to the nation’s largest retail industry trade group.
The National Retail Federation, based in Washington, D.C., is forecasting holiday sales for the November and December period to rise 3.6 percent to $655.8 billion, much better than the 3 percent growth seen in the year-ago period.
The figure also is much higher than the 10-year average of 2.5 percent and above the 3.4 percent growth seen since the recovery began in 2009. The dollar figure excludes sales from autos, gas and restaurants but includes online spending and other non-store sales. The group estimates that non-store sales should rise 7 percent to 10 percent to as much as $117 billion.
The retail trade group President and CEO Matthew Shay noted that this year has had some rocky moments like an unseasonably warm fall, but he said all the fundamentals are in place.