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Deloitte: Retail holiday sales to increase 3.5 to 4%

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Digital interactions to influence 64 cents of every dollar spent in-store during the holiday season.

Retailers should see a moderate increase in holiday sales in the stores and online this year, according to professional services firm Deloitte's annual retail holiday sales forecast.

"An improving labor market, increasing home values and relief at the pump gave more Americans reason to believe the economic recovery was gaining real traction this year," said Daniel Bachman, Deloitte's senior U.S. economist. "Those recurring improvements helped buoy sentiment and spending over the past several months. Housing and employment tend to create a more meaningful wealth effect than that of the financial markets, so the recent stock market fluctuations and instability overseas should not have a marked impact on shoppers' holiday spending intentions. However, while retail holiday sales are expected to rise, the increase may be smaller than last year due to the lingering effects of flat personal income growth in the first quarter."

"While retail holiday sales are expected to rise, the increase may be smaller than last year due."

Deloitte's retail and distribution practice expects total holiday sales to climb to between $961 and $965 billion, representing a 3.5 to 4% increase in November through January holiday sales (excluding motor vehicles and gasoline) over last year's shopping season. This growth rate is below last year's 5.2% gain. Additionally, Deloitte forecasts an 8.5 to 9% increase in non-store sales in the online and mail order channels during the 2015 holiday season.

"Online sales continue to be a growth channel, but more importantly, we've passed the tipping point where online and mobile engagement play a greater role generating sales in the physical store – where more than 90% of retail sales occur – than in digital channels alone," said Rod Sides, vice chairman, Deloitte LLP and retail and distribution sector leader.

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