Economist: 2012 will end with a disappointing holiday season

November 29, 2012 by Marc Ransford

Retailers will not be getting a lump of coal during the 2012 holiday shopping season, but Santa won't be stuffing their stockings full either, says a Ball State economist.

The 2012 Holiday Retail Sales Forecast anticipates that sales should rise by 2 percent over last year. But, when adjusted for inflation, there will be no actual real growth, said Michael Hicks, director of Ball State's Center for Business and Economic Research (CBER), the research division of the Miller College of Business.

"Overall retail sales will be distorted due to a longer season due to an early Thanksgiving holiday with its and Cyber Monday sales, as well as a major push by retailers to convince shoppers to buy early," he said. "Lower household incomes, a stagnant labor market and the lingering effects of Hurricane Sandy will make this a disappointing holiday season."

Declining are anticipated among automobile dealers (-2.46 percent) and club stores (-0.13 percent).

Hicks anticipates little increases in sales among restaurants/pubs (0.01 percent), general merchandisers (.63 percent), consumer electronics (1.3 percent) and jewelry stores (0.23 percent).

Food sales (2.96 percent), big box stores (1.63 percent) and furniture (1.93 percent) will see better than average growth, with used goods purveyors seeing a significant rebound in growth of 11.24 percent this year.

Hicks believes that consumer sentiment remains poor despite a recent rebound.

"Consumer incomes have continued to decline, with modest job growth and a nearly steady dominating labor markets," he said. " in early summer weighted upon later consumer durable purchases. Importantly, fears about a fiscal cliff combined with significant profit and income losses in the northeast due to Hurricane Sandy will slow general purchase of consumer durables this season."

Explore further: Retail sector improves as consumers open their wallets

Related Stories

Retail sector improves as consumers open their wallets

November 10, 2010

Retail sales for the upcoming holiday season should echo the nation's struggling economic recovery as consumers increase buying by 2.3 percent over last year, says a new report from Ball State University.

Black Friday now lasts the whole season, expert says

November 15, 2012

(—Black Friday has been the traditional kickoff of the holiday shopping season, but consumers can expect Black Friday sales starting now and extending through the end of the year, says Richard Feinberg, Purdue ...

Recommended for you

From a very old skeleton, new insights on ancient migrations

October 9, 2015

Three years ago, a group of researchers found a cave in Ethiopia with a secret: it held the 4,500-year-old remains of a man, with his head resting on a rock pillow, his hands folded under his face, and stone flake tools surrounding ...

Mexican site yields new details of sacrifice of Spaniards

October 9, 2015

It was one of the worst defeats in one of history's most dramatic conquests: Only a year after Hernan Cortes landed in Mexico, hundreds of people in a Spanish-led convey were captured, sacrificed and apparently eaten.

Ancient genome from Africa sequenced for the first time

October 8, 2015

The first ancient human genome from Africa to be sequenced has revealed that a wave of migration back into Africa from Western Eurasia around 3,000 years ago was up to twice as significant as previously thought, and affected ...

Who you gonna trust? How power affects our faith in others

October 6, 2015

One of the ongoing themes of the current presidential campaign is that Americans are becoming increasingly distrustful of those who walk the corridors of power – Exhibit A being the Republican presidential primary, in which ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.