AlixPartners, the consulting firm, released its forecast for retail sales in the United States for the upcoming holiday season: an increase of 4.4 percent to 5.3 percent for the traditional November-through-January period compared with sales during the same period a year earlier.

Joel Bines, global co-leader of the retail practice at AlixPartners and a managing director at the firm, said: “‘Unprecedented uncertainty’ might be the best term to use to characterize this upcoming holiday season. From on-again, off-again tariffs, to a growing chorus concerned about a recession, a looming election and geopolitical uncertainty, this season is unlike any in recent memory. While our forecast is bullish, we are nevertheless advising clients to be nimble. These are uncharted waters, and the best course to set is one that includes a strong cost control and flawless execution.”

Roshan Varma, a director in the retail practice at AlixPartners and one of the contributors to this year’s forecast, said: “Holiday sales the past five years have been like a bouncing ball: up one year and down the next. However, just like a bouncing ball, each rise has been lower and lower. Therefore, the question for retailers this holiday season is whether they can crowd out all the uncertainty, connect with their customers in an engaging manner and deliver on ROI targets.”

Adam Pressman, a managing director in the retail practice at AlixPartners, added: “New business models such as subscription services and resale programs and services might be ways that both traditional and digital-native retailers can drive success this holiday season and beyond. However, any program or model is only as good as the planning that goes into it, its implementation and its ongoing execution. Such efforts should be deployed in a manner where the focus is on the customer and how to message and engage with them in a manner that truly drives value for both them and the retailer.”

The AlixPartners forecast, which is based on proprietary AlixPartners methodology, was first instituted in 2012. All its numbers are seasonally adjusted, and it covers core retail sales, which exclude motor vehicles, fuel, and restaurants and drinking establishments.