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December 15th, 2010Big hopes for holiday

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by Donna Goodison
News.BostonHerald.com

Strong November sales point to happier holidays for retailers as the clock ticks down to “Super Saturday” – the last Saturday before Christmas and typically the second busiest shopping day of the year.

The National Retail Federation yesterday bumped up its holiday forecast, albeit to a still-modest 3.3 percent jump in sales, from the 2.3 percent increase it projected in October.

The trade group said its more upbeat expectation for consumer spending stems from stock market gains, the recent growth in consumers’ income and their saving habits during the recession.

Retailers recorded their fifth consecutive month of sales increases in November, according to U.S. Commerce Department figures released yesterday. Retail sales excluding auto sales rose a better-than-expected 1.2 percent since October and 6.7 percent from November 2009.

“There’s no question this will be the strongest quarter for consumer spending since before the recession,” said Chris Low, chief economist at FTN Financial in New York. “The economy has pretty good momentum going into the new year.”

Simon Malls including South Shore Plaza, Burlington Mall, Northshore Plaza and Square One Mall will be open 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Saturday. Mall traffic on Super Saturday tends to be steady throughout the day and evening compared to early spurts on Black Friday.

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