Late Black Friday puts crunch on retailers

WASHINGTON ― The U.S. Thanksgiving holiday falls the latest it possibly can this year, making for the shortest holiday shopping season since 2013. The National Retail Federation has accounted for the compression in its forecast for the season. It anticipates holiday sales to increase by between 3.8 and 4.2%, after a lacklustre 2.1% rise in 2018. Many shoppers, however, haven’t waited for the “official” shopping season to begin. A survey by the NRF and Prosper Insights & Analytics shows that more than half of consumers have begun their holiday shopping and nearly a quarter of purchases have been made. “This is further evidence that the holiday season has grown far beyond the period between Thanksgiving and Christmas,” said Matthew Shay, president and CEO of NRF, in a statement.