WASHINGTON DC: Retailers in the US will be cheered by an authoritative prediction that holiday retail sales in November and December will increase by up to 4% compared with last year.

Specifically, the National Retail Federation forecast that holiday sales, excluding automobiles, gasoline and restaurants, will increase between 3.6% and 4%, representing $678.75bn and $682bn respectively.

That compares with holiday retail sales of $655.8bn in 2016 and $633bn in 2015, and this year’s forecast is expected to meet or exceed last year’s growth of 3.6% and a five-year average of 3.5%.

What will help this year is that Christmas falls 32 days after Thanksgiving, one day more than last year, and also it is on a Monday instead of Sunday, giving consumers an extra weekend day to complete their shopping.

“Our forecast reflects the very realistic steady momentum of the economy and overall strength of the industry,” said Matthew Shay, President and CEO at the National Retail Federation.

“Although this year hasn’t been perfect, especially with the recent devastating hurricanes, we believe that a longer shopping season and strong consumer confidence will deliver retailers a strong holiday season.”

The forecast, which counts several indicators including consumer credit, disposable personal income and previous monthly retail sales, also expects online spending and other non-store sales to rise 11% to 15% this year, ABC reported.

Meanwhile, there was further good news from PwC, the professional services firm, which has predicted that holiday spending will increase 6% this season, even though households earning less than $60,000 plan to cut back on their spending.

By contrast, those with household income above $60,000 intend to increase their spending by 5%, while people in the $100,000 to $149,900 income range plan to spend 15% more. Those with incomes of more than $150,000 say they will spend 8% more this year.

Sourced from National Retail Federation, ABC; additional content by WARC staff