Tony Crescenzi came up with this list of net positives for the shopping season; He calls these factors likely to boost holiday sales this year.
I have been negative as to the prospects for the economy next year, but short term positive on the market’s year end rally and a decent (but not great) holiday shopping season. I expect this year’s sales increase will NOT be more than last year’s 6.5% gains — I expect moderately less, in the 3.5 – 4.5% range. (I’ve gone over the negatives enough that it would be redundant to do so here).
So this piece can be considered equal time for a more bullish view. (Crescenzi does list other bearish factors).
Here’s his list of positives:
1. The economy added 1.6 million jobs in the first 10 months of this year (a figure weighed down by hurricane-related filings following an increase of close to 2.2 million in 2004.
2. Income growth has been running at a pace of faster than 6%, nearly 1% above the long-term average. Given the low savings rate, this should translate into more spending.
3. Housing turnover reached a record high this year, and this tends to correlate strongly with retail sales activity. That said, housing-related spending is likely to be slower next year.
4. The three-month change in equity prices is very strong, and there tends to be strong correlation between equity prices and retail sales activity.
5. Well-managed inventory levels will mean fewer drastic markdowns when compared with past years. This will boost nominal sales.
6. Retailers are set to capitalize on the relatively recent surge in the use of gift cards. This means that they will have their inventory levels positioned accordingly. Many of these sales will take place at favorable average ticket prices, recognizing that consumers aren’t as price sensitive when using gift cards. This will boost nominal sales.
7. Hurricane-related expenditures will occur concomitantly with holiday shopping and therefore will boost retail sales figures.
8. There is one additional shopping day this year between Thanksgiving and Christmas, and there will be one extra Saturday in which to shop, albeit Christmas Eve.
9. Microsoft’s new Xbox 360 will boost interest in its realm and give a boost to sales of electronic goods. Similarly, the digital age is still in the midst of an up-cycle with digital cameras, handheld devices and associated products and peripheral equipment likely to continue to see strong sales. Big-ticket items such as large-screen televisions are also expected to see strong sales and boost nominal retail sales.
10. Well, just because (whoever heard of a top-nine list?).
Holiday Spending and the Economy
RealMoney.com, 11/25/2005 9:09 AM EST