NJ Retail Merchants Association President Expects Growth in Sales

As the holiday shopping season begins to wind down, New Jersey Retail Merchants Association President John Holub told NJTV News Managing Editor Mike Schneider that analysts have predicted an increase in sales.

“I think everyone is cautiously optimistic,” said Holub. “Analysts are predicting about a 3.9 percent increase in sales this year and from every indication so far, I think we’re coming out obviously close to that. Hopefully we’re going to exceed it.”

Whether the sales occur in the mall or small businesses, Holub said that hard numbers won’t be available for some time, but that he is hearing everyone is doing OK.

Since the time span between Thanksgiving and Christmas was shorter than previous years, Holub said that hurdles were placed in front of retailers this year. He also said that there were fewer opportunities for people to go out and shop and that retailers had to work harder to get customers into stores.

During the holiday season last year, Hurricane Sandy had affected many of the towns in the area of the Jersey Shore. Some areas that had been affected by the storm have yet to fully recover, according to Holub, but he said that the shore area as a whole is doing as well as the rest of the state.

With holiday shopping still going on, there has been a moderate growth in sales, according to Holub. Along with the 3.9 percent increase by analysts, Holub said that there has been an increase above the 10-year average.

Holub said that consumers have become more price conscious and that retailers have discounted their products.

Retailers are reaching out to consumers any way possible, including online, which Holub said makes up about 10 percent of sales.

“Online shopping still only accounts for about 10 percent of all retail sales, so 90 percent of all shopping is still done in stores for the holiday season,” said Holub. “While online is important, it’s still a small fraction of the overall retail sales.”