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Calendar Squeezes Holiday Hiring and Spending Outlook

The stores are still filled with costumes and candy, but holiday cheer isn't far behind. Retailers will get a jump on holiday shopping & hiring to make the most of an uncertain season.
The stores are still filled with costumes and candy, but holiday cheer isn't far behind. Retailers will get a jump on holiday shopping & hiring to make the most of an uncertain season.

Shoppers haven't even reached Halloween yet, but retailers are already eyeing how consumers may spend their dollars during the holidays.

That's because the National Retail Federation says that the holiday season can account for 20 to 40 percent of annual sales for retailers.

They forecast just over $602 billion in holiday spending, up 3.9-percent from last year.

But there is the calendar to consider.

First there's the early arrival of Hanukkah, which begins on Thanksgiving Day this year for the first time since 1888. Plus a late Thanksgiving on November 28 means a few less days between Black Friday - the traditional kickoff to the holiday shopping sprint - and Christmas Day.

And the recent uncertainty in Washington could perhaps make consumers less willing to spend.

This all means consumers could start to see offers from retailers early, and often.

Additionally an annual report from Challenger, Gray and Christmas found that at best, holiday hiring will match the totals of 2012. They say the bulk of hiring decisions will be made this month - October.

They also recommend that applicants be flexible regarding hours they're willing to work and the types of things they're willing to do, since needs can change as the season progresses.


(Karin Caifa for CNN's Consumer Watch)


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