Retailers should see green on St. Patrick’s Day

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NRF says Americans to spend $5.3 billion to mark holiday

WASHINGTON – American consumers are expected to spend $5.3 billion to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day this year, according to the National Retail Federation.

The retail group said Wednesday that the amount marked a record high in the 13-year history of NRF’s annual survey on consumer spending plans for the holiday, conducted by Prosper Insights & Analytics.

More than 139 million Americans plan to celebrate the Irish holiday, and are expected to spend an average of $37.92 per person, up from last year’s $35.37 and a new record that tops the previous record of $36.52 set in 2015. The $5.3 billion total is up dramatically from last year’s $4.4 billion and tops the previous record of $4.8 billion set in 2014.

“Now that winter is almost behind us and with St. Patrick’s Day falling on a Friday, we will see more Americans getting together to celebrate with friends and family,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said. “Retailers should expect a nice boost in sales as consumers purchase apparel, decorations, food and beverages to help make their celebrations special.”

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According to the survey, 83% of celebrants will wear green to show their Irish pride, 31% plan to make a special dinner and 27% will head to a party at a bar or restaurant. Twenty-three percent will decorate their homes or offices in an Irish theme and 15% will attend a private party. In addition, 15% are planning to attend a St. Patrick’s Day parade, especially those living in the Northeast (21%).

The survey found that 52% of celebrants will purchase food, 41% beverages, 28% apparel or accessories, 22% decorations and 14% buy candy. Of those making purchases, 39% will go to grocery stores, 29% to discount stores, 21% to bars/restaurants and 18% to department stores.

“St. Patrick’s Day is a time for consumers of all ages to have fun and celebrate all things Irish whether it is attending a parade, cooking an Irish meal, or meeting friends at a bar or restaurant,” Prosper Insights Principal Analyst Pam Goodfellow said. “While more Americans are planning to celebrate the shamrock-filled day, expect Millennials to take the lead among the festivities.”

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