Black Friday Marks Start of What Should Be a Strong Spending Season
With Black Friday around the corner, all signs point toward a healthier holiday season at U.S. retailers, said Bob Hughes, senior research fellow at the American Institute for Economic Research.
The holiday season typically makes up about 20 percent of annual retail sales, excluding automobiles and gasoline.
Retail sales were up by about 5 percent in 2011, and 4 percent in 2012. Sales were expected to continue to grow at around the same pace last winter, but amid colder than expected weather, came in roughly 3.3 percent higher than a year ago, Hughes said. Still, that showed spending continued to grow after the recession, Hughes said.
The fundamentals are again in place for stronger spending this season, Hughes said. The labor market is improving, wages are up, consumer confidence is up, and net worth is at a record high along with the stock market, he said.
The unemployment rate, which hit 10 percent during the recession, was 5.8 percent in October.