A Very Merry Holiday Spending Forecast



U.S. consumers are poised to give retailers the best holiday season in years, even as they worry about jobs, the stuttering economy, and a burgeoning federal deficit.The good news was forecast back in January, when Moody’s Analytics’ Mark Zandi predicted that holiday sales would rise 3 to 4 percent. And now that summer’s over, says Scott Hoyt, Economy.com’s senior director of consumer economics, “if anything, we might upgrade it to 3.5 percent to 4.5 percent.” The National Retail Federation noted that sales rose 2.5 percent in the first quarter of 2010 and predicted a 3.5 per­cent bump in the second quarter. In July, the International Council of Shopping Centers said retail sales had been rising at a pace not seen in four years—4 percent per month, on average, from January through May. Then June’s numbers came in. The ICSC reported that sales rose 3 percent—barely meet
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