Bureau of Business Research


Date of this Version



Business in Nebraska vol. 53 no. 624


Copyright 1997 by Bureau of Business Research, University of Nebraska.


Scrooge's pessimism notwithstanding, the holiday shopping season is once again upon us and with it comes the perennial question: What is the outlook for retailers this season? While the ghosts of Dickens' tale had clear views of what was, what is, and what is to come, we can claim no such clarity of vision. We can, however, examine a set of factors thought to correlate with holiday shopping trends and compare them to a forecast based on historical trends, in an attempt to shed some light on the coming season,

Based on historical trends, December 1997 other net taxable retail sales' are expected to total $1 .8 billion- 7.8 percent above December 1996 levels (Table 1). This is a marked contrast to the previous two December versus year ag02 increases of 3.2 and 3.3 percent, but compares favorably to December sales activity in the early 1990s. Between 1991 and 1994, the average December over December increase was 8.4 percent. The 1995 and 1996 holiday seasons have been classified as dismal and mediocre; the earlier period was characterized by relatively strong holiday sales. The projected sales advance for 1997, therefore, signals a strong holiday season in our future.

Christmas Past

Christmas Yet to Come

Where People Shop: Trade Centers In Nebraska

Levels of Trade Centers

Trade Capture Employment Impact