Ronald Friedman, Co-Leader, Retail/Consumer Products Industry Group, Quoted in Associated Press Article, "Sales for Holiday Shopping Season Comes Down to the Wire."
By Anne D'Innocenzio
Despite an early start, sales data provided to The Associated Press shows that stores may once again have to rely on procrastinators to save the holiday shopping season.
Sales were up 1.8 percent from Nov. 1 through Monday compared with the same period a year ago, according to data tracker First Data Corp., which declined to provide sales figures.
The numbers are modest considering the National Retail Federation, the nation’s largest retail trade group, expects sales for the entire season – November and December – to rise 4.1 percent to $616.9 billion.
The slow growth also comes at a time when retailers tried to do a number of things to jumpstart the season and encourage shoppers to spend. Some offered “holiday” discounts as early as Halloween instead of waiting until the day after Thanksgiving known as Black Friday. And more stores opened on Thanksgiving Day itself to offer people early enticements to spend.
“I don’t think it’s great out there,” said Ron Friedman, head of the retail and consumer products group at accounting firm Marcum LLP who estimates that holiday sales will be up 2 percent from last year. “People are out in the stores and shopping, but they’re all looking for deals.”