Holiday shopping is expected to be up

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NEW YORK (NBC News) – Some projections on the upcoming holiday season have just been released this morning and it shows the government shutdown could put a damper on something else in our economy.

Projecting retail sales this holiday season, the National Retail Federation makes clear, the forecast could have been better were it not for the hang ups in Washington.

The federation expects only a marginal increase of 3.9 percent in sales this holiday season compared to last year.

“Considering everything that’s happening with the economy, the government shutdown and the constant wrangling in Washington we do believe that 3.9 percent is pretty optimistic,” said National Retail Federation spokeswoman Kathy Grannis

However Grannis says the longer the upheaval in Washington, the lower sales will be.

Their holiday sales projections line up with those from the international council of shopping centers.

But neither is as high as the forecast from consulting firm Deloitte which says sales will rise between 4 percent and 4.5 percent from November to January.

“For retailers the holiday season is approximately 20 percent of the industry sales. So you can imagine how important it is to get that number right,” Grannis said.

Consumers can expect earlier-than-usual promotions because this holiday season will have fewer peak shopping days than last year’s.

There’s only 25 days between Black Friday and Christmas this year, compared to 31 days in 2012.

That may also affect seasonal jobs.

For example, Target plans to hire 70,000 employees, about 20 percent fewer than last year.

Last year is hard to top.

Holiday hiring in 2012 hit a 12-year high, with retail employment gaining almost 752,000 jobs from October 1st to December 31st.


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