NRF ups holiday spending forecast

The National Retail Federation (NRF) has revised its consumer spending forecast for the 2010 holiday season, raising it from a 2.3% increase over last year to a 3.3% growth rate.

The upward revision is due to improvement in a variety of economic indicators, the group said, including stock market gains, recent income growth and savings built up during the recession - all giving consumers the capacity to spend.     

“The start to the holiday season has surpassed all expectations,” said NRF president and CEO Matthew Shay. “While employment data is still a concern, we are starting to see improvement in other economic indicators that support an increase to our forecast.”

November retail sales released today by the U.S. Commerce Department showed a 0.8% boost over October’s numbers, the NRF pointed out. Solid gains across the board indicate some pent up demand as consumers stocked up on items such as apparel, accessories and books and music.