Here's a pleasant thought to take with you into 2011--in spite of sluggish pace of economic growth, Americans' penchant for shopping is back and in robust health. The New York Times reports that, according to preliminary figures, retail spending rose 5.5 percent in the months leading up to Christmas, representing the highest increase since 2007. National Retail Federation forecasts that total holiday sales will reach $451.5 billion in 2010, outpacing the past three years. Back in October, NRF was projecting total holiday sales of $447.1 billion.
Even this week's massive blizzard might not put much of a dent into retailers' holiday sales. Though the snow has stopped many shoppers from visiting the mall on what is one of the more critical days of the season, analysts expect it will only serve to extend holiday shopping into January.