New York -- A holiday preview report released Tuesday by the International Council of Shopping Centers said that sales are forecasted to rise 3% during the traditional November-December 2012 holiday period.
Additionally, ICSC said it anticipates that the other two measures of U.S. industry holiday sales – shopping-center sales and GAFO-store sales – will increase slightly as well.
However, the group cautioned that this year’s season comes with a bit more uncertainty than usual because of the increased crosscurrents—a softening in the economy, improving housing prices and markets, rising gasoline prices, a presidential election and the looming $500 billion in automatic spending cuts to the federal budget and tax increases slated for January 1, 2013.
“Despite the cautiousness displayed in our forecast for the 2012 holiday season due to the uncertainty about the automatic spending cuts, Congress has a real opportunity to resolve the issue quickly and amicably to assuage consumer fears, which, in turn, could propel this season’s performance far above ICSC’s current expectations,” said Michael P. Niemira, VP research and chief economist for ICSC.
Additionally, he said it appears that, overall, retailers will add over 26,000 seasonal jobs this year, which would be a modest increase over 2011.