Retail CFOs See 'Moderate' Holiday Season

CHICAGO — Retailers are more optimistic about the upcoming holiday season than they were a year ago, according to a survey of retail chief financial officers conducted by BDO USA.

CHICAGO — Retailers are more optimistic about the upcoming holiday season than they were a year ago, according to a survey of retail chief financial officers conducted by BDO USA.

The fifth annual BDO Retail Compass Survey of CFOs, conducted among 100 retailers in August and September, found that retailers expect an increase in sales for the year of about 3%, and they also projected a 3.5% gain in comp-store sales for the second half of the year, up from projections of 1.9% a year ago.

"Retailers may not anticipate a full recovery in the near future, but we're not seeing gloom and doom in sales expectations," said Doug Hart, partner in the Retail and Consumer Product Practice at BDO USA. "Despite low confidence levels, macroeconomic conditions are not weighing on the consumer's wallet as much as expected, and CFOs anticipate moderate spending levels to continue through the holiday season."

More than three-fourths (77%) of CFOs said they expect a continuation of stagnant economic conditions. Eleven percent expect to see an economic turnaround in the next year, up slightly from 9% who expected a turnaround in 2011 when polled a year ago. Thirty-eight percent of CFOs said improved consumer confidence will be the most important factor for economic recovery, and another 36% cited lower unemployment as the linchpin.