NEW YORK — The International Council of Shopping Centers has projected that shopping-center sales will increase by 2.2% during November and December of 2011, compared with year-ago results.
In 2010, holiday sales increased 5% at shopping centers after declines of 4.2% and 0.6% in 2008 and 2009, respectively, according to the ICSC. Shopping-center sales, which include a wide range of retailers in addition to food and beverage stores, are projected to total $449 billion during the two-month span, vs. $439 billion in November and December of 2010.
The ICSC noted that projected sales using three different metrics — shopping-center sales, the council's composite of major chains (retailers reporting monthly same-store sales) and “GAFO-store” sales (general merchandise, apparel and accessory, furniture and other department store-type stores) — all are expected to increase in 2011 by a slower pace than in 2010. That growth is projected be anywhere from 0.3 to 2.8 percentage points.
“The ICSC holiday sales forecast contains at least four messages,” said Michael P. Niemira, the council's chief economist and vice president for research:
1. No matter which metric of performance is used, ICSC projects 2011 U.S. holiday sales are likely to advance at a slower pace than in 2010 as strong economic headwinds persist.
2. The 2011 holiday season forecast also envisions a pace of sales considerably slower than during the first half of 2011 since retail sales generally advanced at a faster pace in early 2011 than during the 2010 holiday season.
3. Compared with the previous 10-year sales performance, 2011 is likely to be near-to-above average depending on the sales metric.
4. The economic and political risks are expected to be higher during the upcoming season than during 2010.
“But still, on balance, ICSC's 2011 holiday sales forecast portrays a moderately healthy performance,” Niemira added.