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Deloitte Forecasts U.S. Christmas Retail Sales to Top 4%

Sep 23, 2013 12:38 PM   By Jeff Miller
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RAPAPORT... Deloitte's retail and distribution practice expects U.S. Christmas-season retail sales to increase between 4 percent and 4.5 percent year on year in the range of $963 billion to $967 billion. The consulting firm defined the shopping season as extending from November 2013 through January 2014 and it excluded motor vehicle sales in the estimate. U.S. retail sales for Christmas 2012 rose 4.5 percent, according to Deloitte's final tally.

Non-store retail sales are expected to grow by as much as 13 percent, according to the firm, citing  three-quarters of non-store sales results from the online channel with additional sales coming from catalogs and interactive TV.

Alison Paul, the vice chairman of Deloitte's retail and distribution sector, said, "Additionally, shoppers researching their purchases electronically ― via their PC, tablet or mobile phone ― are increasingly influencing in-store sales, particularly as we see greater integration across retailers' store, online and mobile channels. More retailers are offering services such as 'buy online and pick up in store,' as well as  inventory from other locations and price matching on the spot. The store is still a core element of holiday shopping and retailers leading the way this season will be those that effectively bring together their pricing, promotions, merchandise and inventory management across both their physical and digital storefronts."

Deloitte anticipates that mobile-influenced retail store sales will account for 8 percent, or $66 billion, in retail store sales this Christmas season, driven by consumers' store-related smartphone activity, such as product research, price comparison or mobile application use.

"Retailers now realize how to engage shoppers through their mobile devices both inside and outside the store, which is having a profound impact on customer interaction, store traffic and conversion rates," said Paul. "Consumers using their smartphones are more likely to make a purchase compared with other shoppers in the store, indicating that these activities are contributing to sales and keeping a shopper from turning to a competitor, contrary to the concern that ‘showrooming' and price checking could negatively affect sales."

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Tags: christmas, deloitte practice, expectations, growth, holiday, Jeff Miller, retail, sales
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