Report: Nearly 40% of U.S. Small Business Owners Expect Holiday Sales to Increase

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More than half of small business owners across the country expect holiday sales to remain the same compared to last year, while nearly 40 percent expect sales to increase, says a new report released today by American Express.

“Many small retailers have a positive outlook on the upcoming holiday season and see it as an opportunity for growth in 2016,” said Janey Whiteside, senior vice president of customer marketing at American Express Open. 

Whiteside says more than 50 percent of small business owners, defined as a business with $250,000 or more in annual revenue and fewer than 100 employees, believe their potential for business growth will be contingent on a successful holiday season.

She says the biggest concern for small business owners is balancing holiday needs with long-range growth plans. The chief concerns for retailers involve maintaining appropriate inventory levels and better managing discount items and promotions.

Despite expectations for high sales, more than 70 percent of small business owners are not planning to hire additional staff for the holiday season. Across all industries, among those that do plan to hire additional staff, 60 percent plan to keep new hires on the payroll for one to three months.

About half of the business owners plan on giving their employees less than 5 percent of their annual salary as a holiday gift, while more than 20 percent expect to give a bonus of 5 to 15 percent of the employee’s salary. More than 40 percent of employers say they will be giving their employees a larger bonus than last year, while 40 percent say they will not. 

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