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Jacob Sonenshine: Could holiday sales in 2019 disappoint? Retail analyst at Goldman Sachs say the answer is yes. That's primarily because this holiday season we're going to have 26 days in between Thanksgiving and Christmas, also means less enjoyment for you and your family. But holiday sales in 2013 when we saw a shorter holiday season, we did see a quote challenged holiday sales according to the Goldman analysts. Walmart, Target and Macy's and Nordstrom, that group kind of lower price to higher price, but that group had challenged sales in 2013. So if you're looking at 2013 as a representative, you're there with a shorter holiday season, could be a rough indication for 2019. Now, the national retail Federation says, well, holiday sales could come in better than they were in 2018 and better than on average. They're looking for a 3.8% to 4.2% year over year increase. That is 2019 over 2018 in holiday sales, the average increase per year is about 3.7%. So this could be a strong year according to the NRF. They're citing the strong consumer. Of course, the risk there mainly is consumer confidence, from much resulting from the trade war. So there's a risk there. But NRF, kind of disagreeing, with Goldman Sachs there. Here's the point. When you look at holiday sales, you get a sense for the strength of the consumer. Right now the consumer is strong. There is some talk coming out recently that may be for several reasons, including the trade war. That could cease to be the case.

Many see the consumer as strong currently, but we're about to get an honest check on that as holiday sales roll in for the season. 

Goldman Sachs retail analysts say the holiday season could be a disappointment for retailers. In 2019, it has been the consumer, which accounts for the majority of U.S. GDP, that has upheld economic growth in the world's largest economy. In September, the consumer showed signs of weakness, as retail spend data showed a 3% decline in spending for September year-over-year. This badly missed estimates of 3% growth. Now, the always-telling holiday season is upon retail investors. 

But Goldman cites a more benign reason for its warning. "Although recent spending momentum seems supportive of a healthy holiday season in 2019, our analysis points to potential headwinds from a shorter holiday calendar, especially when examining retailer results in prior periods when this dynamic transpired," the Goldman analysts wrote in a note out Monday morning. They mentioned that there will only be 26 days between Thanksgiving and Christmas in 2019, versus 32 days in 2018. 

Goldman pointed to 2013 as a potentially representative year for predicting holiday sales in a short season. That year, the seasons was short and results were "challenging, the analysts said. Specifically, Walmart (WMT - Get Report) , Target (TGT - Get Report) and Macy's (M - Get Report) and Nordstrom (JWN - Get Report) reported a "deterioration" in same-store-sales for the fourth quarter. The analysts also noted income growth that year was "anemic," largely the opposite of what 2019 has seen out of wage growth. 

The National Retail Federation, unlike Goldman, is expecting strong results. The NRF predicts between a 3.8% to 4.2% year-over-year increase in holiday sales for 2019, against the five year average increase of 3.7%. The NRF expects sales to total $727 billion and $730 billion. 

"The U.S. economy is continuing to grow and consumer spending is still the primary engine behind that growth," said NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay. Shay also mentioned consumer is facing risk as the global economy slows and, as the trade war remains a considerable worry, consumer confidence could see a downward jolt. 

In addition to the stocks Goldman mentioned, here are some other notable holiday stocks to watch:

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