National Retail Federation Projects Holiday Sales of $630.7 Billion

Retailers are breaking out the Christmas trees and holly.

The National Retail Federation released its holiday sales forecast for 2015 and expects sales to top $630.7 billion this year. It’s a 3.7 percent growth from last year’s total of $616.1 billion.

While many shoppers are still expected to do a lot of shopping in-store, as much as $105 billion will be spent online this year too. It’s a 6 to 8 percent increase for online sales compared to last year, and important milestone in digital growth for Christmas.

“With several months of solid retail sales behind us, we’re heading into the all-important holiday season fully expecting to see healthy growth,” said NRF president and CEO Matthew Shay. “However, while economic indicators have improved in several areas, Americans remain somewhat torn between their desire and their ability to spend; the fact remains consumers still have the weight of the economy on their minds, further explaining the complex retail spending environment we are seeing right now.”

While overall there is more confidence going into the holidays this year, There are potential challenges for the down the road for the season. A government shutdown in December, stagnant wage growth and a slower job market could affect shoppers’ willingness to spend.

“Price, value and even timing will all play a role in how, when, where and why people shop over the holiday season. Retailers will be competitive not only on price, but on digital initiatives, store hours, product offerings and much more,” said Shay.

Additionally, around 700,000 to 750,000 seasonal workers are going to be hired this season.

In 2014, holiday retail sales grew 4.1 percent over the previous year.

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