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Thursday, December 23rd, 2010 -- 2:08 PM

Thanks to WRN:

Holiday shopping and retail sales are increasing, more so than experts originally predicted, despite the recession. Retail analyst Doug Johnson says, ?The retailers are delighted to see how happy the shoppers are and how much they?re spending in their stores.?

Johnson echoes the statement from the National Retail Federation ? that the holiday shopping season is surpassing all expectations. The Federation recently revised its retail sales forecast to 3.3 percent, up from 2.3 percent. Johnson says Wisconsin shoppers, historically, beat the national averages. ?We really are looking at holiday shopping sales being as much, if not greater, than four percent.?

Certainly unemployment rates are a concern, but the experts say shoppers are buying more stuff because of great deals on merchandise and better consumer confidence.

Johnson says sales have not returned to the 10 percent rate we had experienced during the turn of the millennium, but we?ve come a long way. In his 25 years of analyzing retail says, Johnson says the holiday shopping season hasn?t changed. Kids of all ages still look forward to Santa and his gifts.

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