Retailers are optimistic about 2017 holiday shopping season | Crain's

Retailers are optimistic about 2017 holiday shopping season

The National Retail Federation predicts an increase in holiday spending this year. | Photo via Pixabay

With retail associations predicting an upswing in holiday spending this year and an extra shopping weekend between Thanksgiving and Christmas, the retail forecast is looking merry and bright.

In fact, the National Retail Foundation predicts that holiday retail sales will increase by 3.6 to 4 percent this year as compared to last year. 

“With employment and incomes increasing, consumers are more confident this year and that is reflected in their buying plans for the holidays,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said in a statement. 

Though the outlook is positive, retailers still face some challenges. As consumers spend more and more money online, brick-and-mortar shops are trying to get creative with special deals and holiday events to lure customers into the door. And, as usual, small businesses nationwide are trying to set themselves apart from the Black Friday tradition of hitting the mall. 

In areas where the job market is tight and real estate prices are high—like Denver, Boston and Silicon Valley—it can be tough to hire seasonal staff. On the positive side, new technology for tracking shoppers is creating opportunity for stores to better market themselves and for startup tech firms to grow.

Here's a look at how businesses around the U.S. are dealing with this year's trends and challenges in holiday retail.

Hiring hurdles

Marketing and foot traffic

Technology—for better or worse

Black Friday alternatives

November 20, 2017 - 3:46pm