Retailers are optimists by nature, but the NRF seems to deserve a prize for blue-sky forecasting on a consistent basis. This time, the NRF has projected an 11% increase in Back to School sales, and they issued their forecast before most retailers reported lackluster 2nd quarter sales. Here’s my comment, from a recent RetailWire panel discussion:
What jumps out is the 11% increase forecast by the NRF. The NRF’s forecasting is consistently too high (retailers are chronic optimists) but this number is really over the top. Yes, retail spending seems to be normalizing but there is little evidence — at least from general merchandisers’ 2nd quarter sales results — that consumers are going to be delivering these kinds of increases. And within those sales gains — whether they are really 11% or more realistically in the mid-single digits — you can expect to see Amazon and other online retailers continuing to gain share at the expense of brick-and-mortar stores.