NEW YORK (CNN) Thanksgiving Day kicks the holiday shopping season into high gear. An estimated 137 million Americans are expected to shop between now and Sunday. And over the next few days, retailers will be eyeing those shoppers' habits very carefully.
The raucous end of a long presidential campaign, didn't quite put Americans in the mood for merry.
Matthew Shay, National Retail Federation President & CEO, said, “There was just so much noise out there that it was hard to break through. So it was not only the fact that retailers were trying very hard to do that, consumers just weren't focused yet.”
Now, retailers hope they have consumers' attention and confidence. October retail sales were better than expected.
The job market is still making gains.
Gas prices -- lower, ahead of the thanksgiving holiday.
Last month, the national retail federation forecast more than 655 billion dollars in holiday sales -- an increase of 3.6 percent over 2015.
Shay says, that outlook still stands. ”We're going to continue to watch that. And we'll see how this weekend goes. But right now we're optimistic we're going to have a great season.”
Wall Street has been on a post-election roll but the holiday stretch will give clues about how Main Street feels about the economy, as a trump administration takes shape.
So retailers will watch how much Americans spend, but also, where they spend it, department stores, or discounters?
And how -- checking off items early, or holding out for better deals. A penchant for value-hunting, carried over from the recession.
“Consumers have been trained to realize that you're looking for the best possible deal. If and when that occurs, you've got to be ready, willing and able to jump in and take advantage of it,” said Brent Schoenbaum, Deloitte Retail Partner.