'Tis the season for holiday shopping, and this year is expected to be particularly kind to retailers.
The Florida Retail Federation's holiday shopping forecast predicts that a combination of high consumer confidence, strong tourism numbers and a little extra time to shop will bring in robust sales numbers.
"In good times, (consumers) purchase those items on the list and even some special gifts for themselves," Scott Shalley, CEO of the FRF, said during a Monday forecast call.
Consumers are expected to spend a record-breaking $141 each in gifts for themselves this year, Shalley said.
This year's calendar is especially favorable for the holiday shopping season. There are 32 days between Thanksgiving and Christmas — one more than last year. There also are four Saturdays before Christmas, which hasn't happened since 2012. That means more time for shoppers to squeeze in last-minute gift-buying.
While Florida typically matches or exceeds national shopping numbers, Hurricane Irma is projected to slightly dampen this year's spending.
"Some families have been forced to put financial resources toward unexpected repairs on homes or businesses," Shalley said.
Nationally, consumers are expected to spend $967 per person, and the FRF expects Florida to be around that number.
Despite popular perceptions to the contrary, the FRF predicts that brick-and-mortar stores are going to fare well this season. An estimated 91 percent of shoppers expect to visit an actual retailer this year, Shalley said.
Among the draws are the lack of shipping fees, ease of returning merchandise and ability to touch and try on items.
Retailers that fare the best during the holiday season are typically the ones that take the "bricks and clicks" approach.
"The most successful retailers offer access to products through multiple channels," Shalley said, both in person at their stores — bricks — and online — clicks.
Contact Malena Carollo at email@example.com or (727) 892-2249. Follow @malenacarollo.