Holiday Chain Sales Estimated to Grow 1.7%

Chain-store sales are expected to see year-over-year sales increase of 1.7 percent for the traditional November-December season, according to the International Council of Shopping Centers, Inc.

The 2008 holiday season will be challenging for many of our nation’s retailers, but relatively good for discounters and wholesalers as consumers focus on basics and value, according to ICSC’s Chain Store Sales Trends report.

In addition to the comparable chain Store Sales increase of 1.7 percent, ICSC also expects GAFO Store Sales—general merchandise, apparel, furniture and electronics and other stores, including hobby, book and sporting goods—will increase by 1.8 percent for November and December combined.

“This year’s holiday-season spending will be more modest compared with recent years as the U.S. financial and economic crisis weighs on consumers’ willingness and ability to spend,” said Michael P. Niemira, ICSC chief economist and director of research. “Not surprisingly, big-ticket purchases are likely to take a backseat to more traditional, basic and value-oriented goods and services.”

ICSC Chain Store Sales Trends report on the U.S. retail industry’s sales performance based on an ICSC preliminary compilation of publicly-available sales for chain stores. Industry sales aggregates are compiled for “comparable-store” or “same-store” sales and for total store sales. Those data are presented as an index with a 1977=100 base.