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The stock market's woes could weigh on the holiday shopping season

Key Points
  • More than 164 million Americans were expected to shop between Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
  • Studies show that holiday shopping and the stock market's performance are closely correlated.
  • One thing that could help is a strong consumer, with gains in credit scores and low unemployment contributing to an otherwise positive backdrop.

From turkey to the malls, more than 164 million Americans figured to hit the stores between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday according to the National Retail Federation. But how will the retailers fare the rest of the holiday season?

"I don't think the consumer could be healthier," retail consultant Jan Kniffen told CNBC's "On the Money " in an interview. "Rising wages, they're all working, unemployment at a 50-year low, the consumer's got no problems unless the S&P 500 is a problem."

In the past two months, stocks have taken a beating with the down around 10 percent. Kniffen said there have been studies done that show "the correlation between retail sales in the holiday season and the S&P 500 are pretty high." But he's hoping this year will be different because everything else, including low energy costs and credit scores, is going right.

For the first time ever, the average national FICO score reached 704. Kniffen predicts brick and mortar retailers will see 5.5 percent growth in holiday sales over last year.

The consultant said retailers including Kohl's, Macy's, Nordstrom's and Walmart are putting in place strategies to give consumers what they want, when they want it — such as curbside pickup, returning online orders in stores and buying online with in store pickup.

But all of this costs money.

"Getting the customer into the store is more expensive than it used to be," Kniffen said. "And those things are showing up in their numbers."

But he says, "Overall this is about as good as we've seen these retailers perform since the internet was invented."

As for toy stores, this is the first holiday season without a national toy brand since Toys R Us declared bankruptcy at the end of last year and closed all of its stores this year.

"Unfortunately the only time you can make money in toys is the fourth quarter and Walmart and Target won't let you, and now Amazon won't let you. [Toys R Us] was overleveraged, but they were going to struggle either way," Kniffen said.

But it's not all bad news — FAO Schwarz recently opened a new store at Rockefeller Center in New York City with plans to open a few more stores in the future. Kniffen said FAO Schwarz can be successful because it can build a handful of stores and is making the time in the store fun with experiences such as Build a Bear Workshop and a baby doll adoption center.

"They've got all these things you can be engaged in if you're the kid," Kniffen said. "That's the kind of things you have to do to stay relevant in retail."

On the Money airs on CNBC Saturday at 5:30 am ET, or check listings for air times in local markets.

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Tech

The Post Office wants to raise the fees it charges Amazon and other shippers

Key Points
  • The U.S. Postal Service has proposed a 9 to 12 percent increase to the shipping service used by Amazon.com.
  • The parcel select service, which is also used by United Parcel Service and FedEx, is the last and typically the most expensive step in the shipping process that gets the packages to customers' doorsteps.
  • The USPS proposed a 9.3 percent increase on this service for packages weighing over one pound and a 12.3 percent increase to lighter packages.