Stores to post modest December sales gains - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Stores to post modest December sales gains

WASHINGTON. - Retail sales for December are expected to reveal Americans spent more on holiday gifts last month than the same time in 2008.

Department stores, discount and warehouse chains will release same-store figures this week.

Analysts are predicting a one to two percent increase for December retail sales from 2008.

It signals a small boost in consumer confidence that the U.S. may be slowly coming out of the recession, but when it comes to overall holiday sales, industry figures vary.

Some shopping tracker groups predict sales for the season will be up, but the National Retail Federation is still predicting a decline of one percent.

Retailers that focused on promoting rock bottom prices will likely see the biggest boost to their bottom line.

Electronics and jewelry are expected to see a big increase in December, as much as seven percent, but apparel, especially for teens and children, are expected to be down.

The big question now is how will consumers spend heading into the New Year.

Analysts say with unemployment still high, Americans will likely go back to penny-pinching once again.

On Wednesday, Macy's announced it would close five under performing stores across the country, due to market changes and changes in shopping habits.

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