According to a recent BDO USA survey, CMOs at leading U.S. retailers forecast a 4.1 percent increase in overall holiday store sales.

That's one the the highest projected increases in recent years.

After a rough first half of the year and unremarkable back-to-school results, U.S. retailers have an optimistic outlook for the upcoming holiday season.

This year’s projection is a full percentage point higher than actual retail sales gains in the 2013 season.

Overall, 65 percent of retailers believe sales will increase this year. 12 percent expect a sales decrease.

The increased optimism in growth likely points to ongoing improvements in the broader economy. Housing markets are recovering, the employment picture is slowly rebounding and consumer confidence is rising, though still volatile.

“Sales gains have been uninspiring this year, but retailers have pushed through, and there’s confidence in the air as they gear up for the make-or-break holiday season,” said Doug Hart, partner in the Retail and Consumer Product Practice at BDO USA, LLP.

Holiday Season Total Store Sales Forecasts
2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009
+4.1 % +3.8 % +4.7 % +2.9 % +3.5 % +2.5 %


Last year's growth was over-projected by 0.7 percent. If this year's growth is a full percent under what is expected, it will still match last year's actual growth.

Retailers may be set to enjoy a successful holiday season.