Holiday retail's uncertain outlook

| Print |  Email
Articles - December 2011
Tuesday, November 15, 2011

By Abby Christopher

1211_HolidayRetailThe annual holiday shopping marathon is upon us, and in the face of a still-fragile economy, retailers around the country and locally are collectively holding their breaths.

In Oregon, overall consumer holiday purchases are expected to increase 2.6%, less than the national average, according to Associated Oregon Industries. On average this year, consumers in Oregon and Washington are expected to spend $640.03 compared to  $704.18 last year, according to Ohio-based BIGresearch. The National Retail Federation predicts that spending nationally will be a little higher than 2010, up 2.8% to $465 billion.

Forecasting year-end holiday sales in Oregon is more of an art than a science because Oregon doesn’t tax most retail items, so it’s more difficult for economists and analysts to gather and aggregate sales data. But the state can track monthly employment figures that can provide signs of momentum, particularly starting in the back-to-school months, August and September. Holiday hiring in Oregon is expected to hover around 11,617, 2010’s final figure, or increase slightly, according to Nick Beleiciks, a state economist with Oregon’s employment division. Harry & David in Medford is expected to make up many of these seasonal hires with roughly 9,000 enlisted to field phone orders and pack gifts.

Portland-based Made in Oregon says it expects a 5% to 8% increase in holiday sales over last year, and apparel giant Columbia Sportswear expects roughly a 3% growth in retail holiday sales.

To gauge consumer buying trends, lobbying organizations, such as the National Retail Federation, as well as independent researchers conduct or commission consumer surveys that track responses by region and state.

In October, BIGresearch conducted a nationwide consumer holiday spending survey. Overall, consumers are planning to limit themselves to buying “one nice great gift” for each person on their shopping list this year, according to Pam Goodfellow of BIGresearch. Consumers will invest a lot of time looking for the best deals and are expected to buy online and flock to discount stores and outlets, Goodfellow adds.

In Oregon and Washington, BIGresearch found that consumers plan to spend less than average this year. Consumers in these states are more budget-oriented, likely to shop in non-traditional places such as crafts and fabric stores thrift shops, online and from catalogs.

“Our baseline forecast calls for a continuation of slow growth in terms of economic activity, jobs, incomes and sales,” says Oregon state economist Josh Lehner. “We expect [holiday] sales and hiring this year to be slightly better than last year.”

 

More Articles

Light Reading

September 2015
Thursday, August 20, 2015
BY JACOB PALMER

Ask any college student: Textbook prices have skyrocketed out of control. Online education startup Lumen Learning aims to bring them down to earth.


Read more...

The Cover Story

Linda Baker
Thursday, August 27, 2015
01-cover-0915-thumbBY LINDA BAKER

How do you put a baby on the cover of a business magazine without it looking too cutesy?


Read more...

Downtime with Debra Ringold

July/August 2015
Monday, July 13, 2015
BY JACOB PALMER

Dean of the Atkinson Graduate School of Management, Willamette University


Read more...

Car be gone

Linda Baker
Thursday, August 06, 2015
070615car2goblogthumbBY LINDA BAKER

Car and ride sharing services have taken urban areas by storm. Low-income and suburban communities are left at the curb.


Read more...

5 questions for ImpactFlow CEO Tyler Foreman

The Latest
Thursday, August 13, 2015
impactflowthumbBY JACOB PALMER | DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

Portland-based startup ImpactFlow recently announced a $5.7 million funding round. CEO and co-founder Tyler Foreman talks about matching businesses with nonprofits, his time at Intel and the changing face of philanthropy.


Read more...

Child care challenge

News
Wednesday, August 26, 2015
0927OHSUhealthystarts-thumbBY KIM MOORE AND LINDA BAKER

Child care in Oregon is expensive and hard to find. We delved into the numbers and talked to a few executives and managers about day care costs, accessibility and work-life balance.


Read more...

Unshakable

September 2015
Wednesday, August 19, 2015
BY BRIAN LIBBY

Ben Kaiser holds his ground.


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS