WASHINGTON, D.C. - Retailers expect more jingle at cash registers this holiday season.
According to a just-released forecast from the National Retail Federation, holiday sales are expected to total more than $586 billion. That's an increase of 4.1 percent over last year.
"For most stores, it's the biggest season of the year," said Matthew Shay, President & CEO of the National Retail Federation. "For many retailers, this is as much as 30 or 40 percent of their entire year. So you have to get it right, because this sorts out the winners from the losers."
With more mobile and social options, consumers are expected to do more holiday shopping online this year, potentially as much as $96 billion, a jump of 12 percent over last year.
But there are still some factors that could impact consumers between now and the holiday rush.
The season could get a later start on the airwaves, as retailers compete with political ads through early November.
"So they're going to have to work very hard in the last part of November and into December, and I think that'll mean a lot of promotions and a lot of product presentation to really get people into the stores and get them to shop," said Shay.
The survey notes things could change between now and the end of this holiday season. Variables include the outcome of that presidential race, the unemployment rate and debate in congress over the so-called "fiscal cliff" including those tax cuts set to expire in January.
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