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Ohio's holiday shopping forecast up, growth uneven

Nov. 26, 2013 @ 07:15 AM

CINCINNATI — Retail researchers expect sales to be up this holiday shopping season for Ohio businesses, according to an annual forecast released Monday.

However, the forecast by the University of Cincinnati Eco­nomics Center indicates uneven sales growth around the state, with more than half of the retail spending expected to come in the Columbus, Cleveland and Cincinnati areas.

Sales are projected to be up only slightly in the Youngstown region, and roughly flat in the Akron and Dayton areas.

Overall, the forecast projects $14.9 billion in retail sales for November to December, up 3.5 percent from the same period last year. The forecast, done in conjunction with the Ohio Council of Retail Merchants, uses sales tax data and other fac­tors in its forecasting model.

An improved housing market in Ohio, lower gas prices, and recent stock market gains help brighten the outlook for retail spending, said UC researcher Jeff Rexhau­sen. There has also been steady monthly growth in this year’s retail spending over last year’s.

“Momentum was a big factor in driving our forecast,” Rex­hausen said.

In percentage growth expect­ed, Columbus led at 4.4 per­cent, followed by Cleveland and Toledo with 3.8, and the Ohio portion of the Cincinnati region at 3.4. Expected to lag behind are Youngstown at 1.4, Akron at 0.4 and Dayton at 0.1.

The forecast says that increas­ing use of Internet sites for holi­day shopping will continue to bite into retailers’ sales.



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