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Retailers Revel In Holiday Cheer

Overall holiday sales numbers are running better than expected, but there are some interesting trends in the numbers.

— The National Retail Federation has boosted its holiday sales predictions, to nearly 4 percent over last year's numbers.

Strong consumer response during Black Friday and Cyber Monday motivated the boost.

But the increased holiday sales came at the same time that federal officials found regular retail sales numbers for November were more sluggish than expected.

"They're shifting their purchases from more staple products, supermarkets, buying gas, building materials, you know retailers like Lowes or Home Depot," said Miro Copic, a marketing professor at San Diego State Unviersity. "And shifting them more toward gifting type occassions. Electronics retailers, online retailors, clothing and clothing accessories are getting a fairly substantive gain."

Sales are expected to remain strong over the next few weeks. The season actually extends to the first week of January and analysts will likely look back on this holiday shopping season as a success.

"People are going to breathe a little sigh of relief that the season was better than expected. And they're hoping that will portend well with consumer optimism for 2012," said Copic.

The National Retail Federation has revised upward its sales projections for this holiday season. They expect sales to be close to 4 percent higher than last year; initial projections were in the 3 percent range.

The holiday shopping season will probably extend into the first week of January, according to Copic. When all receipts are totalled, Copic expects retailers to be pleased.

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