New Forecast Predicts Best Christmas in Seven Years

While most retail forecasters have predicted only a modest holiday, one retail consultancy says U.S. retailers are on track to experience their best Christmas season since 2004.

New Canaan, Conn.-based Customer Growth Partners expects that overall retail sales will grow 6.5 percent for the November/December period, the most rapid growth since the 6.9 percent logged in 2004.

The company foresees particular strength among luxury goods, including jewelry, with high-end sales jumping 12 percent overall.

”After three years of scrimping and saving, Americans are ready to spend—strategically and smartly,” said CGP president Craig Johnson in a statement. “This will be a very happy holiday for most families—and almost all retailers.”

He said his forecast was derived from different indexes including government personal income, employment, and retail sales data.

The CGP statement noted that there has been 4 percent year-on-year growth in personal disposable income, which it calls “the biggest driver of retail sales.”

The forecast also says there is “a return of excitement to retail for the first time in years—from new fashion to new stores.”

CGP agrees with most forecasters that e-commerce will record healthy growth this year, predicting a 12 percent jump.

“The retail industry has completed a major ‘reset’ after the worst economy in decades—and has resumed the same 5 percent-plus growth it enjoyed before the recession,” Johnson added. “Retail is back because the consumer is back, big time.”