By Shad Bookout
With home sales increasing and unemployment rates on the decline, retail industry organizations and analysts are projecting U.S. holiday sales spending hikes.
Bloomberg estimates that retailers' sales will spike 3.4 percent this holiday season, and New York-based consulting firm Deloitte LLP found that holiday retail sales are forecast to increase as much as 4.5 percent.
Despite consumer concerns about a potential government shutdown and increases in the payroll tax, all things point to an increase over the 2012 holiday season, when sales rose around 3 percent.
"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 than last year," said Michael Niemira, chief economist for the International Council of Shopping Centers, in a statement to Bloomberg.
Industry predictions are for retailers to add about 700,000 temporary staff this year. Even though these numbers are down from last year's 12-year peak of 751,800, retailers are encouraged by the continued signs of economic recovery.
To prepare for the shopping onslaught, Minneapolis-based Target Co. (TGT), via its company blog, has announced plans to hire approximately 70,000 seasonal workers. Also, Kohl's (KSS) is adding an average of 40 workers per store nationwide in addition to 6,400 seasonal positions at its distribution centers.