Dollars & Sense

Holiday sales growth is expected to be slower this year

Updated: 2013-09-18T03:04:04Z

Staff and news services

After a weak back-to-school shopping period, a research firm expects holiday sales growth to be slower this year during the crucial holiday season.

Shoppers are also expected to visit fewer stores as they research purchases online.

Retail revenue in November and December should rise 2.4 percent during the biggest shopping period of the year, said Chicago-based research firm ShopperTrak. That compares with a 3 percent increase in 2012 from 2011.

“Consumers remain cautious about spending and are not ready to splurge,” said ShopperTrak founder Bill Martin.

The job and housing markets have improved, but most Americans still juggle tepid wage gains with a higher cost of living.

“Consumers are just not confident about much of anything, and most expect there to be several rounds of bad news in the months ahead,” said Chris Kuehl, a Kansas City area economist with Armada Executive Intelligence.

“This is combined with some very real limitations as far as what people can spend on gifts and luxuries this year,” Kuehl said in his retail outlook report. “Everything seems to have caught up with the consumer, and most are in a bad mood.”

Kuehl also noted that ShopperTrak and other reports are very early assessments and often prove wrong once the holiday shopping season kicks in.

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