With holiday sales projected to rise 3% this season retailers have already begun aggressive discounting. However, gift card sales are expected to exceed $35 billion this holiday season. Archstone Consulting says this year’s holiday sales will barely keep pace with the projected inflation rate of 2.7%. Last week Wal-Mart announced it has cut prices on its “Top 12 Toys of Christmas” from 10%-50%. Archstone noted that consumer disposable income has grown, but at a slower rate than last year (5.7% vs. 6.3%). Only four times in the past 10 years has the retail sales growth rate for November and December exceeded the annual disposable personal income growth rate. The research firm says it does not believe that the retail sales growth will exceed the disposable personal income growth rate during this year’s holiday season.