Sweet Holiday Season on Tap for Retailers

Fiscal cliff? Whatever! Consumers are ready to spend, even if it means more debt.

Here's some good news about the economy: It should be a relatively jolly holiday season for retailers this year. Thanks largely to better employment figures and rising consumer confidence, sellers will ring up about 5% more in sales this year than last during the critical November to December period. While that's slightly slower than the 5.6% year-over-year gain of 2011, it's a whole lot better than the 10-year average annual increase of 3.5%. All told, retail sales -- excluding autos and gasoline -- will total about $590 billion in the last two months of the year, contributing to higher fourth-quarter GDP growth.

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Karen Mracek
Associate Editor, The Kiplinger Letter