Washington - Holiday retail sales will increase 2.3 percent this year, to $447.1 billion, the National Retail Federation said.
Such an increase would mark an improvement from both 2009 and 2008, which saw a 0.4 percent increase and a 3.9 percent decrease, respectively, the group said.
"While many consumers will be wishing for apparel and electronics this holiday season, retailers are hoping the holidays bring sustainable economic growth," said Matthew Shay, NRF president and CEO, in a statement. "Though the retail industry is on stronger footing than last year, companies are closely watching key economic indicators like employment and consumer confidence before getting too optimistic that the recession is behind them."
Retailers are expected to focus on supply-chain efficiencies and inventory control this holiday season to limit their exposure to excess merchandise and unplanned markdowns, NRF said.
Not surprisingly, consumers will once again pay strong attention prices. Jack Kleinhenz, NRF chief economist, expected retailers to compensate for this by offering "significant promotions throughout the holiday season and emphasizing value throughout their marketing efforts."
NRF bases its holiday sales forecast on such indicators as employment, industrial production, disposable personal income and previous monthly retail sales reports.