ACWI Advance | Volume 3, Issue 19 | October 15, 2015
The National Retail Federation believes the average consumer celebrating Halloween will spend $74.34 this year, compared with $77.52 in 2014, with total spending on Halloween seen reaching $6.9 billion.
More consumers are heading to stores or shop online early to pick out costumes and decorations. More than one-third (34.1%) started Halloween shopping before Oct. 1, up slightly from 32.1% last year, 40.9% started in the first half of the month and 25% will wait for the final weeks of October.
“People shouldn’t be too surprised when they see Halloween candy and decorations available in stores as early as September first,” observed Pam Goodfellow, principal analyst with Prosper Insights, which conducted the survey on behalf of NRF.
UPS Grooming Policy Challenged by EEOC
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is suing UPS, alleging religious discrimination for the company’s policy banning beards and hair below the collar length for male workers who are in contact with customers or in supervisory positions.
A spokesperson for UPS said it will fight the lawsuit: “UPS respects religious differences and is confident in the legality of its employment practices. The company will review this case, and defend its practices that demonstrate a proven track record for accommodation.”
According to the EEOC filing, a Muslim applying for a driver helper position was told to shave his beard to be hired, and that “God would understand.”
Retailers Hoping for Holiday Sales Boost
Retailers are betting on a robust holiday season while recognizing that consumer concerns about the economy could take some of the bloom off the rose.
The National Retail Federation expects sales in November and December to increase a solid 3.7% to $630.5 billion – significantly higher than the 10-year average of 2.5%. Online sales are forecast to rise 6-8% to as much as $105 billion.
This falls short of NRF’s forecast last year of a 4.1% increase, and the actual 4% sales growth experienced.
Holiday sales this year will represent about 19% of retail’s annual sales of $3.2 trillion, NRF points out.