Holiday Forecast

This is not a weather forecast for the holidays, though the Farmer’s Almanac is predicting some colder than normal temperatures in part of the country and a bit more snow than normal. The holiday forecast we are sharing is for retail sales for the remainder of the year.

The outlook for the remainder of the year can change daily; factors affecting sales as you know are weather, the government’s actions, and how much disposable income your customers have heading into the holiday season.

Currently the outlook for the rest of the year is positive, but not dramatically optimistic. According to the National Retail Federation, sales for November and December are expected to climb just 3.9 percent over last year’s 3.5 percent holiday growth. While any growth is good news, such a small increase is not great news. The economy is slowly climbing each year; the accelerated growth rates many have been waiting for are still not being predicted for any time soon.

Some of the factors that may change the outlook and the actual results are out of many retailers’ control. First, the question of what will happen in Washington D.C. and the looming government fiscal issues is a major factor for many consumers. If the government goes bankrupt, it will send our economy into a chaotic frenzy we have never experienced before and this has many consumers on edge. Fortunately, for now it appears this has been averted.

The latest jobs report from September was not that encouraging to many either. September did see an increase in jobs added, but there are still more people sitting at home without a paycheck since the Great Recession. Many are still opting out of pursuing work and are sitting home instead. This also means they have more time to fish, but unfortunately they do not have a paycheck to buy new fishing tackle from retailers like you.

On a very positive note, gas prices are finally dropping and are predicted to continue to fall throughout the rest of the fourth quarter. This hopefully will mean the cost of many goods will also drop, as the cost to ship them will be much lower. Whether the overall cost of goods drops or not, consumers will have more in their pocket after each fill-up due to these lower fuel costs. This newfound extra disposable income should make its way into more retailers’ cash registers, especially as holiday shopping picks up.

While predicting a quarter’s economic growth is always sketchy, the outlook for this year is positive, though not overly enthusiastic. Hopefully the economists are right and we will see growth; hopefully they are wrong and the growth will be even more dramatic, especially in the fishing retail industry.

What are your thoughts on the state of our economy? What are you seeing in your hometown or in your store? Are shoppers spending more, or has the government’s recent moves made your customers less likely to open their wallets? Share your thoughts with us on our Facebook page and in our LinkedIn group – we would love to read your thoughts.