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Wall Street Journal
Link to Article:
US Holiday Chain-Store Sales Predicted to be up 3%
The ICSC (International Council of Shopping Centers) predicts a modest increase in American holiday season sales this year due to economic uncertainty, and lays responsibility for assuaging worries at the feet of Congress. Economic softening, improvements in the housing market, the presidential election and the budget sequestration coming at the end of the year add up to a mixed and confusing picture. Consumers are afraid to risk spending more until they have a more secure outlook.
Excerpt: "The firm said this year’s holiday season comes with more uncertainty than usual due to increased crosscurrents such as a softening in the economy, improving housing markets, the presidential election and the looming $500 billion in automatic federal spending cuts and tax increases to be enacted in January."
'Despite the cautiousness displayed in our forecast for the 2012 holiday season due to the uncertainty about the automatic spending cuts, Congress has a real opportunity to resolve the issue quickly and amicably to assuage consumer fears, which, in turn, could propel this season’s performance far above ICSC’s current expectations,' said ICSC Chief Economist Michael Niemira.
The firm also expects retailers to add more than 26,000 seasonal jobs this year, a modest increase over 2011."