Our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy have changed.

By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to the new Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

Holiday sales outlook hinges on bargains

By Jessica Dickler, staff writer


NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- As the holidays approach, consumers are getting back in the buying mood, but only if the price is right.

Holiday retail sales are expected to increase 2.3% this year to $447.1 billion, according to a study released Wednesday by the National Retail Federation.

The rise marks an improvement from last year's 0.4% uptick, but is still below the ten-year average holiday sales increase of 2.5%. Overall sales have been choppy so far this year as concerns about the economic recovery abound.

"While consumers have shown they are once again willing to spend on what's important to them, they will still be very conscientious about price," federation chief economist Jack Kleinhenz said in a statement. "Retailers are expected to compensate for this fundamental shift in shopper mentality by offering significant promotions throughout the holiday season and emphasizing value throughout their marketing efforts."

Retailers will likely keep their inventories lean to limit their exposure to excess merchandise and unplanned markdowns, the NRF said.

"Though the retail industry is on stronger footing than last year, companies are closely watching key economic indicators like employment and consumer confidence before getting too optimistic that the recession is behind them," said Matthew Shay, the retail group's president. To top of page

Index Last Change % Change
Dow 18,424.89 -31.46 -0.17%
Nasdaq 5,158.05 3.07 0.06%
S&P 500 2,170.95 0.89 0.04%
Treasuries 1.48 -0.03 -2.05%
Data as of 10:50am ET
Company Price Change % Change
Ford Motor Co 12.83 0.12 0.94%
Bank of America Corp... 14.59 -0.09 -0.61%
Regions Financial Co... 9.16 -0.01 -0.05%
Facebook Inc 125.65 0.65 0.52%
Chesapeake Energy Co... 5.23 0.04 0.77%
Data as of 10:34am ET
Sponsors

Sections

HSBC banker arrested at JFK airport as he prepared to leave the country. He and former trader face federal charges they manipulated currency trades. More

The U.S. economy only grew 1.2% between April and June compared to the same time a year ago, according to official figures released Friday. More

Sheryl Sandberg says she supports Hillary Clinton for president, because she would help close the gender gap, and because she's 'the most qualified candidate.' More

It's about to get harder for some luxury all-cash home buyers to hide their identity from the U.S. government. More