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Holiday Shoppers are Spending More Than Expected

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It's that time of year again. 'Tis the season to spend. Holiday shopping is in full swing, and as Joanne Faryon tells us, sales are better than anyone expected.

Consumers are buying more and spending more this year. That’s according to the latest sales figures. Holiday shoppers are spending about five per cent more this year over last.

Pat Kremers is your average holiday shopper. She plans to spend $600 on Christmas gifts this year. And like most people, she will probably go over budget by about 10 or 15 percent.

Pat Kremers:  I think it's fun to see them open up things they didn’t expect to get as gifts. And the children - you give them something extra you know, or the grandchildren you know.  It's just fun to see them excited about everything they’ve gotten.”

It may be generosity that’s helping sales this year. A year that wasn’t supposed to be this good. But retail experts say the spirit of giving isn’t the only thing sending shoppers to the mall. Lower gas prices and lower unemployment rates are helping too.

Ed Whalin:  There was a lot of gloom and doom about what this year was going to look like economically. It turned out it hasn’t been anywhere near as bad as anyone near as bad as anyone thought it would be. And as for retailers it’s been quite good. It’s been a very good year. We’ve had solid growth right across the board in very retail category.”

Retail is a $300 billion business in America. This time of year, most consumers expect to spend between $300 and $700 on gifts. But of course, there is always the exception. Like Susan Whillock. She plans to spend between $5,000 and $6,000.

Susan Whillock: I just get all excited when I get out there and start buying stuff because I put little outfits together. By the time you start getting a little sweater and a shirt and tights and whatever, you know, little accessories, its hard not to spend that kind of money.

Retail experts say people tend to go over budget due to impulse buying. - Picking up that last minute gift that looked so good in the store window or at the check-out stand.

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