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Boosting sales this season: Holiday spirit, weather

Posted at 7:32 AM, Nov 11, 2014
and last updated 2014-11-12 12:07:22-05

Holiday shoppers are expected to spend more and be more altruistic this shopping season, according to the National Retail Federation.

Customers in recent years have been focused on getting discounts and deals to save money on needs for themselves. But an improving employment rate and less national fear regarding the economy have more people opening their wallets for others, said Kathy Grannis, a spokesperson for the National Retail Federation.

“It does appear as if consumers are taking that extra pocket power and putting it toward gifts for their friends and family,” Grannis said.

People celebrating Christmas, Kwanzaa and/or Hanukkah are expected to spend $804.42 on average compared to spending $767.27 last year, according to the National Retail Foundation’s survey.

The survey showed incremental increased spending on gifts for everyone from babysitters to family members.

The survey comes as the unemployment rate continues to tick down. The Labor Department reported unemployment is down to 5.8 percent.

People buying for themselves also might be in a better position to buy frills for themselves as opposed to needed items, Grannis said. 

“We were in kind of this either/or economy where Americans didn’t have the ability to buy their discretionary purchases like clothing and jewelry and personal care and also invest in the larger tickets like appliances or autos or the larger electronics,” she said.

Beyond the economy, retailers are expected to benefit from a milder winter compared to last year, which made it difficult for some would-be buyers to escape the house.

“Weather has a tremendous impact on shopping in general,” Grannis said.