Holiday 2011: What can we expect?

Everyone is interested in forecasting holiday sales before Black Friday (in the case of the RetailWire comment below, about two weeks ahead). My yearlong point of view hasn’t changed…consumers may say one thing but they are behaving like they are willing to spend moderately:

I think we are in for a better-than-expected holiday season. Not great, but some modest single-digit gains are on the horizon. Retailers who plan their staff and inventory levels too conservatively do so at their risk. For all the gloom and doom in the headlines — nagging unemployment and housing problems, sovereign debt, political dysfunction — the reality is that spending has been relatively healthy all year despite surveys of consumer sentiment pointing in the other direction. Smart retailers will plan accordingly.

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