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2013 holiday retail sales outlook

A Purdue expert says holiday sales this year likely will be flat. Consumer Science Professor Richard Feinberg says several indicators point to the lackluster outlook.

He's forecasting overall retail sales will be 0-2% lower than last year.

"At the overly optimistic end, I might see an 0-2% overall increase," Feinberg says. "Last year, $590 billion was spent during the holiday retail season."

He points to several indicators that suggest the lackluster outlook. One is the lack of a Social Security tax rebate this year, which Feinberg says means families have $700-$1,000 less than they did a year ago. Another predictor is back-to-school shopping.

"One of the relationships that exists is the amount of money spent on back-to-school to the amount of money spent in the holiday season," he says. "This year (back-to-school) was flat. We expect it to be a tough holiday season."

He says weak retail sales recently and lower retail executive confidence are other signs this year’s sales will be flat or lower than 2012.

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