Two organizations are predicting weaker sales than previously projected this shortened holiday season.
Morgan Stanley projects that retailers will realize a 1.7 percent increase in sales during the fourth quarter, at stores open at least a year. The growth is less than half of last year's 3.5 percent expansion, Morgan Stanley's report says.
Customer Growth Partners' 13th Annual Holiday Forecast projects a 2.9 percent increase in holiday sales, which is still weaker than the National Retail Federation's projected 3.9 percent increase to $602.1 billion.
However, in positive news, the International Council of Shopping Centers said Thursday, Oct. 31, that net operating income per square foot at malls hit a record high in the third quarter. The 7.4% increase from the same period in 2012 was the sixth straight gain.
Meanwhile, Morgan Stanley researchers expect to see "the most intense promotional holiday environment since 2008," they wrote in the report, The Los Angeles Times reported.
Morgan Stanley expects the best holiday sales growth to come from Michael Kors Holdings (NYSE: KORS), which has realized a stock surge of more than 50 percent this year. Other likely winners will include Victoria's Secret (NYSE: LTD), which avoids "irrational promotions" and Ross Stores Inc. (NASDAQ: ROST).
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