Retail CMOs expect a healthy 3.7% increase in holiday comparable store sales, according to BDO USA survey results released in November. That’s a significant jump from last year’s forecasted growth of 2.1%, and is the highest projected growth by CMOs since 2007 (5%). The CMOs also expect total holiday sales to rise by 4.7% this year, a more aggressive outlook than the NRF’sÂ recent projection of 4.1% growth.
By comparison, the Platt Retail Institute (PRI) expects a 4.4-4.8% increase, which is more in line with the CMO projections.
Consumer Electronics To Fly Off Shelves
More than 3 in 5 CMOs surveyed by BDO USA expect consumer electronics to be the strongest-selling category in 2012, driven by tablet releases from Apple, Microsoft and Google. 62% of respondents also believe the consumer electronics category will offer the most discounts and promotions. Notably, though, the NRF consumer survey found that consumer electronics have taken a backseat this year to home entertainment items on the planned shopping list.
Meanwhile, close to 3 in 5 CMOs of retailers that sell gift cards expect gift cards sales to increase in November and December, creating what BDO calls “solid headwinds” for January retail sales.
Inventory To Grow Slightly, Variety More Significantly
A majority of CMOs forecast a slight increase of 1% in inventory levels over 2011. In terms of variety, 40% expect stock-keeping units (SKUs) to increase, while 46% believe SKUs will remain steady. That in turn means that shoppers may expect somewhat more variety from retailers this holiday season.
55% of respondents named unemployment as having the most significant impact upon holiday sales, and it was the most significant impact named in 2011 as well. Energy and fuel costs are expected to also have an impact, cited by 25%, up from 17% last year.
About The Data: The data is gleaned from the most recent edition of the BDO Retail Compass Survey of CMOs, for which 100 US-based CMOs at leading retailers located throughout the country were surveyed. 20 of those retailers are in the top 100 based on annual sales revenue. Surveys conducted by telephone in September and October of 2012.