LCSN: NMSU professor Bruce Huhmann forecasts a mild increase in holiday sales

November 19, 2013. Retrieved online November 20, 2013 from Sun-News report, Las Cruces Sun-News

[Excerpts below reprinted with permission: Read the complete Las Cruces Sun-News article]

LAS CRUCES >> Worries about an already slow economy were heightened last month by the government shutdown and those factors will affect holiday shopping in New Mexico and across the country.

Still, holiday sales will climb some this year.

That’s the take of New Mexico State University Associate Professor of Marketing Bruce Huhmann, who recently released his annual holiday retail sales forecast titled “Merry but Mild”.

“I foresee a positive, but flattening trend in holiday sales growth,” Huhmann reports.

The NMSU professor predicts a 1.7 percent increase in holiday sales for New Mexico retailers and a 2 percent increase nationally. While that is still a climb, the rate of growth is slower than 2011 and 2012 which saw increases of 4 percent and 3 percent respectively.

“The October government shutdown and the uncertainty caused by the temporary nature of its resolution will negatively affect consumer spending over the next few months,” Huhmann reports. “Budget negotiations and negotiators are to reach an agreement by Dec. 13 to head off another budget impasse in mid-January. The lack of a mid-December agreement may lead consumers to pull back on holiday spending as they worry about more budget battles in the New Year.”

“This year’s back-to-school sales were not as strong, which further supports the case for less growth in holiday retail sales,” he said. “Already we have seen Halloween spending per person declined 6 percent this year, according to the NRF. The only other year-over-year decline in Halloween spending was observed in 2009.

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