It won't be a holly, jolly Christmas for consumers if the prediction for the 2008 shopping season by the National Retail Federation is correct. The federation issued its annual forecast for the upcoming shopping season today, predicting that sales would rise only 2.2 percent, the slowest growth since 2002.
"We expect consumers to be frugal this season and less willing to splurge on discretionary items," said Rosalind Wells, the federation's chief economist.
Sales will fall well below the 10-year average of 4.4 percent growth, the federation said. Last year, sales increased just 2.4 percent.
Locally, the picture looks similar, said Bill Mann, general manager of Prime Outlets-Ellenton, a shopping center with 130 stores.
"I think that's pretty much in line with what we would expect here in Ellenton," he said. "Our trend this year has been along those lines so we feel like that's definitely do-able."
One local small business is expecting a bigger year than last.
"I hope it's going to be great; we've been really swamped so far," said Terri Liss, co-partner of Rusty Crickett's Coastal City Cottage, 615 15th St. W., Bradenton. "Last year, it was phenomenal. We're a new business and last year way outperformed what we thought. We're expecting at least 25 percent more this year over last year."
Read the complete story at bradenton.com