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Published: Tuesday, 10/19/2010

Consumers show appetite for holiday spending

REUTERS

CHICAGO - U.S. shoppers plan to part with more of their cash during the coming holiday season for the first time since a recession took hold three years ago, according to a retailing trade group's survey.

Consumers plan to spend an average of $688.87 on holiday shopping this year, an increase of 1 percent from 2009, according to the survey released yesterday by the National Retail Federation. The survey was conducted by BIGresearch from Oct. 5 to 12 and polled 8,767 people.

The trade group has forecast total retail sales growth of 2.3 percent for November and December this year. Its survey of spending plans per capita shows consumers are slightly less concerned about high unemployment and a tepid economic recovery than they were a year ago.

Sixty-two percent said the economy will affect their spending, down from 65 percent a year earlier.

Fewer shoppers said discounts would be a determining factor in their purchases. Just less than 42 percent said markdowns would be an important factor, down from 43 percent in 2009.

In a sign that could cut into sales at lower-priced retailers, 65 percent said they would buy something at a discounter, down from 70 percent last year.

A separate report from research firm ShopperTrak forecast that sales would rise 2.9 percent this holiday season as consumers continue hunting for bargains and visit stores less frequently.

U.S. consumers have gone shopping less often in 2010, but spent more per visit because shopping trips were planned around deals and promotions. ShopperTrak said it expects that trend to continue during November and December.

This year, consumers plan to spend $393.55 on gifts for family, $71.45 on gifts for friends, $18.26 on co-workers and $34.82 for others. Total 2010 gift spending is expected to rise 2.1, with the remainder of money being used for decorations, greeting cards and postage, candy, food, and flowers.



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