Plenty of folks have already begun their holiday shopping, but the real rush in New Jersey is just around the corner. And as of now, the retail outlook for the Garden State is encouraging.

The retail industry in New Jersey generally falls in line with national trends. And a recent update from the National Retail Federation pointed to an anticipated 3.6 percent growth in sales in November and December. That follows a jump of 3 percent during the 2015 holiday season.

"Once you get through Halloween, that's when I think things will really start kicking in," said John Holub, president of the New Jersey Retail Merchants Association. "It's by far the most important time of year for retailers."

Some shops could depend on the holiday season for 30 to 40 percent of their annual revenue, Holub said.

In terms of hiring, NRF estimated between 640,000 and 690,000 seasonal workers would be added to retailers' ranks. Last year, 675,300 holiday positions were filled. At 7 to 10 percent, online sales are expected to see a bigger jump than brick-and-mortar retail sales this year.

Holub said retail activity in New Jersey is not tracked and reported as it is on the national level.

Holiday sales, compared to the year prior, have risen each year since 2009. Sales in 2008 were 4.8 percent lower than sales in 2007.

"It's been incremental growth, but it's been growth, and we're looking at some of the more optimistic numbers we've seen in several years," he said.

Holub added the day after Christmas and the few weeks after are very important for retailers as well, noting gift cards continue to be a more popular gift option, and shoppers are interested in using them as soon as possible.

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