Following a strong holiday shopping season, the IBM 2019 Retail Forecast suggests that retailers will experience a 3.04 percent rise in year-over-year revenue this year. The report indicated growth among different categories from restaurants to health and personal care, Chain Store Age reported.
“The buoyant sales that characterize the 2018 holiday shopping season will continue into the new year,” the company noted, according to Fox Business. “Here, the weather is expected to play a key role, as an early start to spring following a cold winter is expected, which will be a big positive for U.S. retail in the first quarter, especially apparel sales.”
In particular, IBM forecasts that restaurants will experience growth of 5.23 percent, as pharmacies could see 4.05 percent growth. At the same time, the report foresees growth in health and personal care at 3.52 percent and children’s clothing at 2.65 percent. In addition, it projects 3.23 percent growth in men’s clothing and 2.66 percent growth in women’s clothing. The report was made by Dr. Mike Haydock, IBM fellow and chief scientist, who has longtime experience in the field as well as in artificial intelligence (AI).
The news comes as total retail sales in the United States rose by 5.1 percent from between the beginning of November and the day before Christmas compared to the prior year. The sales figures, which were provided by Mastercard SpendingPulse in December, did not include automobiles and were said to show the most robust growth over a time frame of six years.
Retailers were challenged to keep up sales throughout the shopping season leading up to the holidays, with an atypically early Thanksgiving per consultants and analysts. But it was reported at the time that merchants like Walmart and Target lengthened their online order deadlines for Christmas. In addition, Amazon provided free Christmas Eve same-day delivery to members of its Prime program in some cities.