Are you involved in retail? Does your business depend on the holiday season? Are you concerned about the upcoming 2013 holiday season? Is Santa going to come this year for all the good boys and girls? There are lots of businesses that are getting worried about the upcoming Christmas shopping season. And there are reasons to be a little nervous. First of all, Thanksgiving is very late this year. Because there are five Thursdays in November, Thanksgiving falls near the end of the month—on the 28th. That leaves less than 30 shopping days between Thanksgiving and the winter holidays.
And the ongoing uncertainty about the economy and the recent government shutdown may have convinced some consumers to tighten their belts. And there was a warning sign recently in the retail industry: a weak back-to-school season. That’s got lots of retailers forecasting a weaker holiday quarter than last year. In fact, ShopperTrak, a company that measures store traffic in over 60,000 stores nationwide, is predicting that this year, retail growth will only be 2.4%, which is lower than the past several years (growth was 3% in 2012, and 4% in booth 2011 and 2010). It’s not too late to have a great holiday shopping season, but most retailers are preparing for tepid sales. If you’re in retail, it might pay to brace yourself for the worst, even while hoping for the best. You might not get record-breaking sales, but the holiday season seems like it’s going to be better than it was during the worst of the recession.