Despite a slew of grim economic indicators, all is not doom and gloom for holiday CE sales.
While acknowledging the "very tough selling environment," National Retail Federation president Tracy Mullin believes consumers "are still willing to open their wallets for a good bargain." According to the trade group's latest holiday spending survey, conducted by BIGresearch, consumers plan to spend an average of $649 on gifts, up 2.6 percent from last year.
What's more, 39 percent said they would like to receive CE or PC-related presents, leading BIGresearch strategy VP Phil Rist to conclude that "pent-up demand for electronics [will] play a strong role during the holiday season."
NATM president and executive director Bill Trawick is already seeing proof of that in some members' numbers. Pockets of strength include Texas-based Conn's, whose sales shot up 10 percent last month, while white goods continue to hold their ground for NATM dealers.
Also working in merchants' favor, said CIBC world markets analyst Dan Wewer, is record refinancing activity and low interest rates, which "could provide some incremental help" to retail sales.