A more confident group of consumers are expected to loosen their purse strings this holiday, and are seen sparking an acceleration in retail sales growth over last year.
The National Retail Federation on Tuesday said it expects retail sales excluding automobiles, gasoline and restaurants to rise 3.6 percent in November and December, to $655.8 billion. That would mark an acceleration over last year's 3 percent increase, and would easily top the 10-year average of 2.5 percent growth.
The trade organization's forecast, considered the industry benchmark, is based on an economic model that factors in consumer credit, monthly retail sales and personal income.
NRF anticipates non-store sales, which skew toward digital, will increase between 7 percent and 10 percent, to as much as $117 billion.
"We have a lot more people working this year," Jack Kleinhenz, NRF's chief economist, told reporters.
When factoring in other indicators like wage growth and higher home prices, "our general sense of the economy is that we're in better shape than we were last year," Kleinhenz said.