COLUMBUS, Ohio — Retail sales for the fourth quarter will be significantly better than a year ago, according to a sales forecast released Tuesday by Kantar Retail here.
However, the holiday will feel weak compared to the relatively strong pace of retail sales in the first three quarters — a pace inflated temporarily by economic stimulus and pent-up demand, the research and consulting group added.
“Prices and uncertainty will weigh heavily on the holiday outlook,” Frank Badillo, senior economist for Kantar, said in a statement. “Ongoing price competition among retailers, led by Wal-Mart, is more likely to take a toll on sales gains than boost demand among shoppers who remain value conscious.”
Kantar said it expects growth of 2.5% in the fourth quarter among key holiday segments, compared with 0.5% growth in the same period a year ago. Key holiday segments exclude auto, food and drug retailers.