The National Retail Federation announced that it expects holiday retail sales in November and December - excluding automobiles, gasoline and restaurants - to increase between 3.6 and 4 percent for a total of $678.75 billion to $682 billion, up from $655.8 billion previous year.
In 2016, holiday sales rose 3.6 percent from a year earlier. "Although this year hasn't been ideal, especially with the recent devastating hurricanes, we believe that a longer shopping season and strong consumer confidence will deliver retailers a strong holiday season".
That estimate, released Tuesday from the National Retail Federation, said those figures are just a slight bump from the 3.6 percent in the same period a year ago.
"Our forecast reflects the very realistic steady momentum of the economy and overall strength of the industry", said NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay in a press release. This year is bolstered by the fact that there are 32 days between Thanksgiving and Christmas, one day more than in 2016.
Retailers could see a bump in sales this holiday season. Christmas also lands on a Monday in 2017, instead of a Sunday, giving consumers one more full weekend to pick up gifts.
Also contributing to the projected increase: an extra calendar day between Thanksgiving and December 25, and Christmas falling on a Monday, giving procrastinators an extra weekend to complete their rounds.
Since 2010, every year has broken holiday sales records, a pattern the NRF believes will continue.
The group has forecast retailers to hire between 500,000 and 550,000 temporary workers this holiday season, down from last year's 575,000 workers.
The dollar figure excludes sales from autos, gas and restaurants but does include online spending and other non-store sales.