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Ben Ball

Senior Vice President
Dechert-Hampe

Holiday Forecasts: Partly to Mostly Merry

October 30, 2012

FROM RETAILWIRE:
It's not quite as good as an unexpected gift, but the National Retail Federation (NRF), the Platt Retail Institute (PRI) and FedEx expect shoppers will be spending more during the holidays than last year. How much more is the real question. What is your forecast for the holiday shopping season and why?      [more...]

MY COMMENTARY:

It is nice that the retailing community is forecasting some improvement in holiday sales. Perhaps the intended self-fulfilling prophesy will indeed be fulfilled.

But I note most of the commentators so far are "cautiously optimistic with a liberal dose of caveats" -- and with good reason. Consumers are not better off, more optimistic nor are more of them actually employed than in recent years. The best reason to expect improved sales this year is what Dr. George termed "recession fatigue".

And to piggyback on Ryan's comment, Americans are simply tired of not buying all the stuff they want. We like to spend, and we have clearly had the capacity to spend more during the recession than we did -- witness the fact that we were steadily retiring debt instead. But we are tired of it. The problem with this economy is primarily attitude, both with business and with consumers. Hopefully they will have reason to change that attitude soon.

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