Retail Report: Stronger Sales Expected for 2015 Holidays

General Growth South Street Seaport Mall
General Growth’s South Street Seaport mall in Manhattan.
Getty Images.

The trade association for the shopping industry today said consumers would likely spend more this holiday season than in the same period a year ago.

In a new report, the International Council of Shopping Centers projected that 90 percent of Americans plan to buy gifts for the holidays, up from 82 percent in 2014. That’s good news for the footwear industry, with 49 percent of people polled said they would shop for shoes and apparel.

The two other categories besting footwear were gift cards, at 54 percent, and electronics and devices, coming in at 51 percent.

“With gas prices and unemployment down, and housing prices up, holiday shoppers are heading into the season with increased confidence in their spending power,” ICSC spokesman Jesse Tron said in a statement. “While certain headwinds exist, such as uncertainty in global financial markets and minimal wage growth in the U.S., the positive macroeconomic trends are likely to win out and propel retail sales throughout the holiday season.”

The organization forecasts retail sales growth of 3.3 percent, with consumers spending on average $702, up from $677 last year.

“It appears to be shaping up as a solid season for retailers, and if ICSC’s forecast holds, one that would better the average of the previous ten seasons by 1.5 percentage points,” Tron said.

While online growth is projected to be a major contributor to sales, in general, the survey also found that 95 percent of holiday shoppers would head into brick-and-mortar stores. The reasons for more store visits ranged from the comfort gained through trying on multiple items to ease of returns to the ability for one-stop shopping.

The findings comes on the heels of a report last week from the National Retail Federation. The organization forecast holiday sales for 2015 to top $630.7 billion.