By Jeff Green—Most retailers have already begun rolling out their holiday shopping programs and initiatives to try to get shoppers thinking earlier—and more often—about the holidays. Despite this effort, I’ve seen several key indicators recently that could signal a flat holiday shopping season for retailers, including soft back-to-school shopping numbers and sluggish Halloween figures. Regardless, many holiday shopping projections are predicting an increase in sales figures between 2 and 4 percent. I’m not as optimistic as others. In the latest edition of Retail Rap, I discuss my holiday sales predictions and why I believe they may not live up to the increase that others are calling for.
Let’s start with the fact that, as I’ve discussed recently in this space, back-to-school sales were extremely disappointing. While there were, in retrospect, a few signs of trouble, the sluggish back-to-school numbers were the first real indication that consumers are not as positive about economic circumstance as we perhaps thought they were not too long ago. When you factor in the fact that Halloween projections are also extremely soft, and that consumer confidence fell sharply last month, and you start to see a worrying trend developing. I think it’s noteworthy that seasonal job gains are expected to remain flat, with many big brands actually hiring fewer season employees than they did last year.
Check out the full article from my recurring column, Retail Rap, at Chain Store Age.