NRF: Holiday sales predicted to fall 1.0%
Washington, D.C. The National Retail Federation on Tuesday released its 2009 holiday forecast, which projects that November and December holiday retail sales will decline 1.0% this year to $437.6 billion.
The NRF pointed out that while the decline is a sharp departure from the 10-year average 3.39% holiday growth, it is a slightly more optimistic projection than last year’s 3.4% drop in holiday sales.
The predicted 1.0% decline is also an improved picture than the 3.0% decline in annual retail industry sales expected for all of 2009.
“As the global economy continues to recover from the worst economic crisis most retailers have ever seen, Americans will focus primarily on practical gifts and shop on a budget this holiday season,” said NRF chief economist Rosalind Wells.
The NRF added that although some hopeful signs of a recovery have begun to emerge — such as better-than-expected sales in August and momentum in the stock market — continued consumer uncertainty over job security and housing values will take their toll on holiday spending.
And, as retailers become even more promotional, certain popular holiday categories such as apparel and electronics may experience deflation due to aggressive sales.
“The expectation of another challenging holiday season does not come as news to retailers, who have been experiencing a pullback in consumer spending for over a year,” said NRF president and CEO Tracy Mullin. “To compensate, retailers’ focus on the holiday season has been razor-sharp with companies cutting back as much as possible on operating costs in order to pass along aggressive savings and promotions to customers.”
An Associated Press report on Tuesday compared the NRF forecast to those of several other groups, including the International Council of Shopping Centers, which predicted a 1.0% rise for November and December. ICSC chief economist Michael Niemira cautioned that the holiday 2009 numbers may look better in part because last year’s drop was so severe. “The turn is upon us in the upcoming months, but it’s mainly driven by the arithmetic,” Niemira said.
Macy’s named exclusive retailer of Ellen Tracy sportswear
NEW YORK Macy’s Inc. announced that it has signed a strategic alliance agreement with the Ellen Tracy owner, Brand Matter LLC, and its sportswear licensee, RVC Enterprises, under which Macy’s will be the exclusive department store retailer of Ellen Tracy branded women’s sportswear, beginning in spring 2010.
Under this agreement, Macy’s will offer its customers an exclusive array of Ellen Tracy sportswear that will include jackets, shirts, pants, sweaters, woven tops, knit tops and bottoms. Price points, for example, will be in the range of $99 to $149 for jackets and $50 to $99 for pants.
The exclusive sportswear will launch in more than 100 Macy’s stores and online at macys.com in March 2010, with plans for additional rollout over time to additional stores. The launch will include new Ellen Tracy shops in Macy’s largest flagship stores – Herald Square in New York, Union Square in San Francisco, State Street in Chicago and Dadeland in Miami.
“Ellen Tracy is a legendary brand that is well-known to our customers and backed by an outstanding design team. In particular, Ellen Tracy delivers exceptional value to women who expect quality and want a relevant look for today’s world at work and on the town,” said Jeff Gennette, Macy’s chief merchandising officer. “And coming next year, Ellen Tracy will provide another powerful reason for customers to shop at Macy’s. Ellen Tracy will join other exclusive brands at Macy’s, including Tommy Hilfiger, Martha Stewart Collection, Rachel Rachel Roy and Donald Trump.”
Store openings set for this week
Target is set to complete its 2009 store expansion plans this week with the opening of 26 new stores nationwide in 18 different states.
California is home to the most new stores with six units slated to open there on Oct. 7, in the communities of Culver City, Bakersfield, Sunnyvale, Davis, Rancho Cordova and Brea. Other states with multiple openings included Texas (Mesquite and Kyle), Kentucky (Middletown and St. Matthews) and Massachusetts (Lowell and Hanover).
Following the opening of 26 additional units Target is set to end the year with approximately 1,745 stores.