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 21,703.75 29.24 0.13%
Nasdaq 6,213.13 -3.40 -0.05%
S&P 500 2,428.37 2.82 0.12%
Treasuries 2.18 -0.01 -0.64%
Data as of 10:11pm ET
Company Price Change % Change
Bank of America Corp... 23.38 -0.24 -1.02%
Advanced Micro Devic... 12.05 -0.32 -2.59%
General Electric Co 24.49 -0.06 -0.24%
Ford Motor Co 10.57 0.01 0.09%
Intel Corp 34.92 -0.09 -0.26%
Data as of 4:15pm ET
Sponsors

Sections

What is arguably the longest running war in U.S. history has racked up a tab of between $841 billion to $2 trillion since 2001, depending on the factors counted. More

78-year-old businessman Peter Sprague shares his latest invention as part of CNN Tech's "Tech versus Taboos" series: HearGlass, a hearing amplification device embedded into eyeglasses. More

When it comes to encouraging women in STEM fields, research shows that female mentors are key influences on women's success. More