Will Early Retail Deals Hurt Christmas Week Sales?
The National Retail Federation expects holiday sales to be up only 2.4% this year to $447.1 billion. That is not much comfort for the industry that suffered through disastrous sales during the holiday shopping seasons of 2008 and 2009. Online sales may be modest comfort. Some experts believe that Internet retail activity may be up 14% or more to over $38 billion. But that is still a small percentage of overall holiday revenue. And, Amazon.com (AMZN) and a few other large "online only" operations will get most of that.
The economy now is such that there is not likely to be an unexpected surge in holiday sales. Too many people are out of work. Too many others are worried about their jobs. Too many consumers are still leveraged and do not have access to money.
If retail sales are indeed only going to rise 2% to 3% and the weekend of Thanksgiving does drive higher sales than last year because of early discounts, the last week of shopping just before Christmas could be pretty quiet.