“The holidays are just around the corner and consumers are ready to shop,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said. “Confidence is near an all-time high, unemployment is the lowest we’ve seen in decades and take-home wages are up. All of that is reflected in consumers’ buying plans.' Here is how consumers expect to allocate their Holiday spending across its 3 major categories: Gifts – 63% of total Non-gift holiday items (food, decorations, flowers, greeting cards) – 21% of total Other non-gift purchases (seasonal deals and promotions; aka 'self gifting'?) – 15% Nice, eh? Welcome and upbeat forecasts. We think of them as Christmas gifts for retailers. But, one has to wonder: Dare they be believed? - What about all the headlines and news about the stock market declines? Tariffs and trade wars? A looming economic slowdown? - And then there is the contentious political environment. What will be the aftermath of the mid-term election results? Well, let's put those in context: - First, consumer confidence levels measure the attitudes of the general public, and tend to be a reflection of their feelings about employment and wages. Paychecks matter! And those trends are very strong. - Meanwhile, stocks tend to be held by wealthier Americans , who may be impacted more by other economic factors. And the stock market especially dislikes uncertainty, which is likely to continue – or even increase – after the election. Look, we do not see coal in your Christmas stockings. Consumer confidence is such a major feature of sales volume that we have a new idea for you. Ready? Get your local newspaper to publish a story about this all-time high consumer confidence for your customers to read. Make it a self-fulfilling prophecy! Prime the pump, baby!