Could robust Halloween sales bring holiday cheer for stores? Retail expert weighs in

Could robust Halloween sales bring holiday cheer for stores? Retail expert weighs in

Halloween sales are expected to set a record in 2017, with the National Retail Federation predicting $9.1 billion in Halloween-related sales this year , an 8 percent increase from last year’s previous record of $8.4 billion.

Jerry O’Brien, who heads UW-Madison’s Kohl’s Center for Retailing Excellence, said a lot of the growth in Halloween sales can be attributed to the holiday’s growing popularity among adults.

“Certainly, I think the growth is because adults have accepted the holiday,” O’Brien said.” This is not just a kids event to go out, adults use it as an excuse to get together, have some fun.”

O’Brien said most of the growth is in costumes and Halloween-related experiences, like pumpkin patches, hay rides and haunted houses.

Trick-or-treating, he said, is taking on less importance.

So will the ghoulishly good numbers bring holiday cheer for retailers when the holiday shopping season comes around? O’Brien says: maybe not.

“I’m not sure you’re going to see quite as good a trend for the rest of the holidays,” he said. “One thing about Halloween is it’s so experience-oriented which seems to be where a lot of shopping is going.”

O’Brien said retailers will have to wait and see whether booming sales continue after the 31st.

“Whether that will flow through to the other holidays, which are more family-oriented and maybe not so event-oriented, we’ll have to see,” he said.

O’Brien said he sees the adult-centric Halloween sales trends continuing into the near future.

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