People will be buying online, too, with online holiday sales forecasted for an increase of 6% to 8% with a total of as much as $105 billion, the NRF said. This year, holiday sales are expected to represent about 19% of the retail industry's annual sales of $3.2 trillion.
The 3.7% increase in sales is lower than last year's increas of 4.1%. In a release, NRF chief economist Jack Kleinhenz said reasons for slower holiday sales include slower job growth, deflationary retail prices and some consumer spending shifting toward big ticket items and services, as well as the "wild card in our government spending debates."
Holiday jobs will remain about the same; according to NRF, retailers are expected to hire between 700,000 and 750,000 seasonal workers this year. Last year, there were 714,000 new holiday positions.
The NRF defines holiday sales as encompassing most traditional retail categories including non-store, auto parts and accessories stores, discounters, department stores, grocery stores and specialty stores, and excluding sales at automotive dealers, gas stations and restaurants for the months of November and December.