New Survey Shows Mixed Sentiment in Middle-Market Retailers for 2013 Holiday Season

Jack Frost is nipping at a few noses this season: One in three middle-market retailers predict a rise in holiday sales—anywhere between 1 and 5 percent—compared with 2012, according to a new survey from financial and advisory company CIT Group. Worse, 12 percent are forecasting a decrease in holiday sales. An optimistic one in four retailers expects a bump of 6–10 percent.
Interestingly, 45 percent of the group surveyed—midmarket retail execs—believe the United States is already in the midst of an economic recovery. A little more than half (55 percent) think the economy won’t bounce back for a while—and almost 25 percent don’t see that happening until 2015.
“For many middle-market retail executives, the forecast for the coming holiday season and beyond is a wintry mix,” Burt Feinberg, president of CIT corporate finance, commercial and industrial, said in a statement. “Despite this, high-end luxury goods continue to sell well, while other consumers are choosing to trade down on their purchases.”
Speaking of luxury sales: 50 percent of the retailers CIT surveyed report increased demand for luxury goods among affluent shoppers; 45 percent say middle-class consumers are moving from high-end to less-pricey goods.
In early October, the National Retail Federation predicted a 3.9 percent sales increase for the months of November and December—higher than the 10-year average holiday bump of 3.3 percent.