Missouri retailers could be in for a nice holiday gift. Creighton University economist Ernie Goss expects shoppers to make it an extra special retail season this year.
“Based upon our surveys, in these two surveys of manufacturers and bank CEO’s in ten states, the overall numbers are pointing to a positive Christmas holiday buying season — up three to four percent,” Goss says.
He says with low unemployment, low gas prices and a good overall economy, there is plenty to spend on gifts.
Consumers are pretty flush with at least confidence and with some spending power. Although, consumer debt is at record levels — particularly for millennials and those who have college debt,” Goss says.
He says college debt could affect how much millennials will spend. As shoppers buy their gifts, Goss says they could see the impact of an expected worker shortage.
“You’re going to maybe in some cases spend more time standing in line to pay for your gift item than you did finding your gift. So, it is a challenge for a lot of retailers out there,” Goss says. “And also, retailers have been through a tough couple of years and they’ve been through a lot of cost cutting. So, they’ve been cutting back on manpower as well.”
As for online sales, retailers should have a bang up season.
“Online buying by consumers is going to be up 14 to 15 percent, so much better on online buying,” Goss says. “So much better on online buying. Some of what is limiting it is finding qualified workers to fill those retail positions.”
Goss says the growth in holiday sales comes as the economic growth is down from last year, signaling slower economic progress and somewhat higher unemployment levels in the weeks and months ahead.
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