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Holiday Sales Increase

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Holiday sales are expected to increase 4% over last year, according to a survey of three dozen retail industry analysts conducted by the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC), the trade association of the shopping center industry.

According to the survey, economic indicators like unemployment, inflation, interest rates, weekly earnings and consumer confidence are all indicative of a robust economy this year. Retail sales have been strong all year, and are expected to maintain the same momentum through the holiday season.

Respondents to the survey were asked a variety of questions, including identifying: the most popular merchandise categories; the type of retailers that will capture the most sales; and how consumers will pay for their holiday purchases. A sampling of their responses is listed below:

–53% of those surveyed believe that computer-related products and electronic items will be most popular this year.

–47% feel that household items and entertainment products will tie for second place.

–Fewer than 20% of the analysts believe that this will be a particularly strong year for recreation items, furniture or toys.

–91% feel that discount stores will be the most popular location for shoppers, followed by specialty stores and warehouse clubs.

–100% of the analysts rated on-line retailers as capturing more of the total holiday sales this year.

–62% of the analysts predicted that consumers will use major credit cards for holiday purchases more this year than they did last year.

–Those responding to the survey believe that cash, checks, debit cards, and store-issued credit cards will be used at about the same level this year as last year.

If youre interested in more details about the holiday season, visit the International Council of Shopping Centers Web site at www.icsc.org.

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