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Consumers feel confident about holiday spending

Lorraine Mirabella

9:00 AM EDT, October 13, 2012

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Consumers plan to spend the same or more than last year on holiday shopping, new consumer research shows.

A holiday spending survey by market research firm The NPD Group shows that 10 percent of consumers expect to spend more than last year, while 67 percent plan to spend about the same amount. The percentage of consumers who plan to maintain or boost spending  has grown slightly from NPD's 2011 holiday spending survey.

Meanwhile, the share of consumers who will spend less than they did last year is decreasing. Less than a quarter, 23 percent, plan to spend less, compared to the 27 percent who planned to spend less when surveyed in 2011.

"I see a light at the end of the tunnel with more consumers telling us they plan to 'spend about the same' and less planning to 'spend less'," Marshal Cohen, chief industry analyst for NPD, said in a statement announcing the results.

Still, he said, "retailers will still face some challenges. They will need to develop creative ways to lure shoppers into the stores."

That's partly because all types of stores are competing for holiday dollars, with drug stores and supermarkets expected to give the traditional holiday shops a run for their money.

He expects the holiday shopping season to start late, meaning later than October, thanks to the distraction of the election. But plenty will head to the stores to shop before Thanksgiving.

About half of those surveyed plan to shop at discount stores such as  Target, while more than a quarter will shop national chains such as Sears, JC Penney and Kohl's.

 "Watch for more practical purchases this year," Cohen said in the release, "with consumers buying useful items that they need rather than spending their money on luxury treats."

 lorraine.mirabella@baltsun.com