By Kimberly Schupp - email
WASHINGTON (RNN) - Many retailers are greeting the 2010 holiday spending forecasts with some relief this year after a ho-hum 2009, and a disastrous 2008.
According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), November and December account for 40 percent of annual retail sales and an even greater percentage of annual profits.
The NRF said there will be a sales increase of 2.3 percent, totaling about $447 billion in holiday spending this year.
Dan Jasper, director of public relations for Mall of America (MoA) in Bloomington, MN, said all indications are that people are feeling very optimistic about the holiday season.
For the first time in history MoA is completely leased. More than 4.2 million square feet and 520 store fronts are full. MoA also includes an eight-acre amusement park, which makes the mall more of a destination.
"Our sales are up over 9 percent and the holiday's will continue to be strong," Jasper said. "We include a lot of top of mind awareness, MOA is sponsored by a local sports arena, we had a reality show, always run great holiday promotions. We make ourselves known, which is a strategy that's worked very well for us."
With the state of the economy leveling out, consumers are ready to spend again, but they are still looking for the bargains.
"I think that after a long period of restraint, people are psychologically ready to buy again, but not just for the sake of buying," said MSN's Business on Main columnist Barbara Findlay Schenck. "They feel they and those they buy for need things, and when they can find value at a good price, they're opening their billfolds."
Consumers are being very mindful of where and how they are planning on spending their holiday dollars.
"Fortunately, instead of a buying moratorium this year, it's prompting smart purchasing, which is driving holiday sales," Schenck said.
Kathy Grannis, director of media relations for NRF, believes people have learned how to look for ways to save money while spending.
"Price comparative shopping is very big this year, and so is mobile," Grannis said. "Some retailers will send you texts or you download an app to get virtual coupons, and really it allows people to shop from anywhere with the click of a button."
It's not just about bargaining this holiday season. Retailers say some people are splurging.
"If the price is right, a lot of families that know they all want something, like a media room, they purchase one large gift for everyone," Grannis said.
The sales growth remains slightly lower than the 10-year average holiday sales increase of 2.5 percent, which is an improvement over the past two years.
"This 2010 holiday retail forecast is not bleak, but not bling," Schenck said.
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