Friday, June 22, 2018
Business

Holiday sales projected to rise 3.9%

Holiday sales this year will be so-so at best, with fiscal concerns and the stalemate in Washington weighing down more promising economic signs, according to the retail industry's top trade group.

Sales in November and December, which include the shopping Super Bowls of Black Friday and the run-up to Christmas, will tick up 3.9 percent to $602.1 billion, according to the National Retail Federation's forecast.

Last year, sales rose 3.5 percent. The holiday season accounts for as much of 40 percent of individual retailers' annual revenue and about 20 percent of the industry's total haul, according to the NRF.

"While neither robust nor pessimistic, this is a realistic forecast of the industry's expectations," NRF chief executive Matthew Shay said in a statement. "The potential for higher growth exists, but the potential for consumer spending cutbacks also exists if we don't see policy leaders address the bigger problem — job creation and long-term economic recovery."

Online sales growth is expected to be stronger. The NRF said it expects revenue to jump 13 percent to 15 percent in the final two months of the year, amounting to as much as $82 billion.

Last year, e-commerce sales in the fourth quarter rose 15.5 percent from the same period in 2011, according to the government.

The NRF expects seasonal employment at retailers to grow by 720,000 to 780,000 workers. In 2012, merchants brought 720,500 holiday employees on board, a 13 percent boost from the year before.

Amazon.com said this week that it will hire 70,000 full-time seasonal workers, a 40 percent upswing from last year. Walmart said it will add 55,000 seasonal associates, while Toys "R" Us plans to hire 45,000 employees. Target said its holiday hiring will slide 20 percent to 70,000 seasonal workers.

Vendors worried about holiday sales have some factors working in their favor. The housing market is on the upswing, and personal incomes in August rose the most since February. Also, consumers appear increasingly willing to spend on big-ticket items.

But the government shutdown could crimp holiday shopping plans for many public employees.

"The timing couldn't be worse, as we are just weeks away from the all-important holiday season, when retailers and other businesses benefit from increased spending," John A. Challenger, chief executive of consulting firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, said in a statement this week. "Depending on how long the shutdown lasts, government workers may have to slash holiday spending."

Comments
Tampa Bay workforce development initiative looks to Houston for lessons

Tampa Bay workforce development initiative looks to Houston for lessons

The biggest hospitals in Houston had a problem.To earn a prized institutional certification, they needed more nurses with bachelor of science degrees in nursing.But local colleges were more focused on turning out nurses with two-year degrees who, to ...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Health care IT company CareSync shuts down, laying off 292

Health care IT company CareSync shuts down, laying off 292

TAMPA — The days ahead were supposed to be bright.For weeks, the future of health care tech company CareSync had been thrown into question as founder and CEO and founder Travis Bond unexpectedly departed, kicking off multiple rounds of layoffs. But t...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Coal and gas hold onto their share of electricity production, despite massive push for renewables

Coal and gas hold onto their share of electricity production, despite massive push for renewables

Here’s an intriguing set of facts: Coal produces the same percentage of the world’s electricity as 20 years ago. Oil and gas remain about level, too.Same for nonfossil fuel sources. In other words, the massive push towards renewables over the past co...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Brink: Why have Florida’s working-age men left the labor market in droves

Brink: Why have Florida’s working-age men left the labor market in droves

A cancer lurks within Florida’s otherwise rosy job numbers, one that’s been called a quiet catastrophe and an intractable time bomb.Too many men between the ages of 25 and 54 have stopped working.Economists call those the prime-age years. Incomes gen...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Pride divided no more: St. Pete Pride comes back together

Pride divided no more: St. Pete Pride comes back together

ST. PETERSBURG — The 16th annual St. Pete Pride Parade is getting ready to march along the downtown waterfront the second straight year. But many hope to move past the division caused last year when the parade was uprooted from its original hom...
Published: 06/22/18
For sale: A Tampa Bay area elementary school where you can eat tacos and buy wine

For sale: A Tampa Bay area elementary school where you can eat tacos and buy wine

ST. PETERSBURG — For sale: a 104-year-old elementary school with restaurant and wine shop. It even has a title company where you can close the deal.Less than a year after completing a major renovation of the historic North Ward school, developer Jona...
Published: 06/22/18
Domain Homes: Buyers love them, some others don’t

Domain Homes: Buyers love them, some others don’t

TAMPA — When the 2008 financial crash brought down the nation’s housing market, hundreds of home builders went out of business. Among them was Sharon McSwain Homes in Atlanta, forced to liquidate in 2009.But just as developers like to develop, builde...
Published: 06/21/18
Updated: 06/22/18
Armature Works developers sue Ulele and city of Tampa over use of nearby building

Armature Works developers sue Ulele and city of Tampa over use of nearby building

TAMPA — Two of the city’s hottest developers — the companies behind Ulele and the Armature Works — are heading to court over control of an old city building that sits between the hit eateries. Both want to redevelop the city&...
Published: 06/21/18
Orlando airport first to scan faces of U.S. citizens on international flights

Orlando airport first to scan faces of U.S. citizens on international flights

Associated PressFlorida’s busiest airport is becoming the first in the nation to require a face scan of passengers on all arriving and departing international flights, including U.S. citizens, according to officials there. The expected announcement T...
Published: 06/21/18
Saboteur or whistleblower? Battle between Elon Musk and former Tesla employee turns ugly, exposing internal rancor

Saboteur or whistleblower? Battle between Elon Musk and former Tesla employee turns ugly, exposing internal rancor

Hours after Tesla had sued its former employee on charges he had stolen company secrets, and days after chief Elon Musk had called him a saboteur, the Silicon Valley automaker made a startling claim. The company had received a call from a friend of t...
Published: 06/21/18