2018 holiday sales up more than 4 percent, says retail trade group

The good news is that the economy is strong and consumers are spending. But this year will a little be slower than 2017, when consumer spending reached a 12-year high.

Retailers can go into the holiday season with confidence because retail sales are expected to rise, according to a leading retail trade group.

The National Retail Federation says that this November and December, holiday retail sales—excluding automobiles, gasoline and restaurants—will increase between 4.3 and 4.8 percent over 2017 for a total of $717.45 billion to $720.89 billion. 

The forecast is higher than the average annual increase of 3.9 percent over the past five years. But less than last year, when holiday sales increased 5.3 percent (totaling $687.87 billion)—the largest increase since the 5.2 percent year-over-year gain seen in 2010 after the end of the Great Recession.

“Our forecast reflects the overall strength of the industry,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said in a news release. “Thanks to a healthy economy and strong consumer confidence, we believe that this holiday season will continue to reflect the growth we’ve seen over the past year. While there is concern about the impacts of an escalating trade war, we are optimistic that the pace of economic activity will continue to increase through the end of the year.”

Screenshot from the National Retail Federation
National Retail Federation