Poll: Retailers expect shoppers earlier this year

North Plainfield, N.J. — Levin Management’s annual pre-holiday retail sentiment survey has found that retailers expect consumers to begin their holiday shopping sooner this year. Specifically, Levin said that 43.3% of responding retailers believe that holiday sales will peak prior to and during the Thanksgiving/Black Friday weekend sales period.

Only 13.5% believe that sales will peak later — during the weekend before Christmas, a significant drop from last year’s 29.2%.

Levin conducted the survey during October, polling store managers within its 90-property, 12.5-million-sq.-ft. shopping center portfolio on this and other topics related to the upcoming holiday selling season, ecommerce, year-to-date sales and more.

The survey uncovered fears among retailers that the recent government shutdown would affect holiday spending. Nevertheless, more than three quarters of the respondents (77.5%) indicated that they plan to bring in as much as or more inventory than last year. A larger 85.7% of clothing, shoe and accessories retailers indicated that they plan to bring in as much ore more inventory than last season.

Levin noted that this trend lines up with the National Retail Federation’s forecast for a 3.9% sales increase during November and December compared with last year. This exceeds the 3.3% 10-year average holiday sales growth as well as 2012’s 3.5% holiday sales growth.

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