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Holiday shoppers expected to spend more this year

Updated: November 22, 2012 12:38AM



Most forecasters expect shoppers to spend more this Thanksgiving, but consumers’ moods are tough to read with the economy still uncertain.

Economist Michael Hicks of Ball State University in Muncie, Ind., expects no growth in sales.

“Lower household incomes, a stagnant labor market and the lingering effects of Hurricane Sandy will make this a disappointing holiday season,” he said.

He thinks two exceptions will be furniture sales and big-box discount stores.

The National Retail Federation predicts overall holiday spending in November and December will jump 4.1 percent from last year, to $586.1 billion.

A Deloitte Consulting survey showed 47 percent of Chicagoans will buy only sale items and 31 percent will shop for those bargains on Black Friday.

The most popular items they’ll seek deals on are:

† Gift cards: 42 percent.

† Clothing: 39 percent.

† Electronics: 33 percent.

† Books: 29 percent.

† CDs/DVDs: 21 percent.

Deloitte, which includes January in its estimate, forecast a 3.5 percent to 4 percent increase in holiday sales over last year. Other forecasts include:

† ShopperTrak, a retail-foot traffic counter: 3.3 percent growth.

† International Council of Shopping Centers: 2.9 percent.

Online shopping is expected to show a bigger increase. The National Retail Federation forecasts a 12 percent increase in online shopping, to $96 billion, and the ICSC expects a 12.6 percent increase.

The federation says up to 147 million people plan to shop this weekend, a 3.3 percent decrease from 152 million who planned to do so last year.

The survey showed 71 million said they would shop on Black Friday and 76 million said they would wait to see what retailers have in store that weekend, the National Retail Federation reported.

But the federation predicts the average shopper will spend $749.51 on gifts, decor, greeting cards and other items, up 1.2 percent from last year.



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