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ICSC: Holiday sales to rise 3.4%


New York -- Holiday sales will rise 3.4% sales increase, slightly stronger than last year, for the traditional November-December holiday period, even though retailers are expecting a more modest spending season, according to the International Council of Shopping Centers.

Additionally, ICSC anticipates that the other two measures of U.S. industry holiday sales will both increase over last year.

“We’re going to see a more subdued spending mood from consumers, but what counts is that we’re on track to have a better holiday sales season that last year,” said Michael P. Niemira, VP of research and chief economist for ICSC. “With leaner inventories, retailers can expect their prices and margins to remain stable, which is another good indicator of stronger sales,” he said.

The ICSC forecasts that holiday hiring will be up 0.5% from last year, which differs significantly from a recent Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc. estimate for a 6.9% drop in seasonal hiring.

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