NRF predicts 5 percent growth in holiday retail sales

Holiday retail sales (excluding automotive dealers, gas stations, and restaurants) are expected to increase 5 percent over last year, bringing holiday spending to $457.4 billion—below the 6.1 percent increase in 2005, according to the National Retail Federation.

“Consumers have faced a number of economic challenges this year and have taken them in stride,” said NRF chief economist Rosalind Wells. “Although sales gains will not be as robust as last year, retailers can still expect above-average holiday sales growth.”

Over the last ten years, the average percentage increase in sales for the holiday season is 4.6 percent. One-fifth of retail industry sales occur during the holiday season, making it the most important time period of the year for the industry.

“Consumers make small sacrifices all year so they can splurge a little during the holidays,” said NRF president and chief executive officer Tracy Mullin. “If gas prices continue to fall, shoppers will find a little something extra in their wallets, giving them even more reason to celebrate.”