Analyst Predicts Strong Holiday Season

NEW CANAAN, Conn. — Customer Growth Partners here on Friday said it expected pent-up demand and deleveraged shoppers to defy many forecasts and spend heavily during the holiday season.

NEW CANAAN, Conn. — Customer Growth Partners here on Friday said it expected pent-up demand and deleveraged shoppers to defy many forecasts and spend heavily during the holiday season.

CGP said it expected sales during November and December to grow by 6.5% as compared to last year — the most rapid such growth since 2004 — and more than twice consensus forecasts calling for growth of 2% to 3.5%. The figures include all retail categories except for autos, gasoline and restaurants and was based on proprietary store and retailer research and U.S. data on personal income, employment, savings rate and retail sales.

“American households — at least the 91% with jobs — have deleveraged dramatically since 2007, while disposable income continues to rise, generating almost $50 billion a month in incremental free cash flow,” Craig Johnson, president of CGP, said in a statement. “And after three years of scrimping and saving, Americans are ready to spend — strategically and smartly, but for the first time in years, very few things will stand between and American consumer and her shopping destination.”

Johnson said a 4% year-over-year growth in personal disposable income would be the biggest driver of retail sales. He also cited normalized savings rates, a decline in household debt ratio, pent-up demand and more “excitement” at retail including new fashion and new stores.

He said apparel would lead holiday sales growth, achieving a 7.6% growth versus last year. Internet shopping would be the fastest growing retail channel, with 12% growth, CGP predicted. The company also said discount stores, luxury retailers and department stores would have strong holiday seasons.