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What to Expect from the Vital Holiday Shopping Season

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Consumers and retail continue to help drive the U.S. economy, with retail accounting for roughly one in four jobs in the U.S. Therefore, the holiday shopping season, which unofficially kicks off on Thanksgiving, can often be a make or break period for retailers.

The U.S. economy appears to be in a solid place in the fourth quarter. Meanwhile, progress on the U.S.-China trade war front continues. Overall, third quarter U.S. GDP growth was recently revised up from 1.9% to 2.1% and Q4 forecasts appear strong. On top of that, U.S. unemployment rests near its 50-year lows.

According to the National Retail Federation, more than 165 million people are projected to shop during the five-day period from Thanksgiving Day to Cyber Monday. Plus, holiday season retail sales are projected to climb between 3.8% and 4.2% in the November through December period. This would mark strong improvement from last year’s 2.1% growth.

On top of that retail giants Target (TGT - Free Report) , Walmart (WMT - Free Report) , Best Buy (BBY - Free Report) , and others have projected strong holiday season sales to help continue to dispel Amazon (AMZN - Free Report) fears. “This year’s research clearly shows that the investments made by retailers are paying off in a big way,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said in prepared remarks.

“Over the last couple of days, what I heard in discussions with retail CEOs across all categories and segments was very positive, driven by macro conditions of low unemployment and rising wages combined with the right mix of merchandise at great prices. This is a very strong emotional start to the holiday season and a positive indicator of where we are headed over the next month.”

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