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LIers' holiday spending expected to grow

Shoppers surge into the Uggs Shore store in

Shoppers surge into the Uggs Shore store in the Tanger Outlet in Deer Park at the stroke of midnight to start Black Friday shopping on Nov. 27, 2009. Credit: Joseph D. Sullivan

Long Islanders are expected to spend more this holiday shopping season than last, slightly surpassing the national forecast for expenditure growth, industry watchers said.

The stable job market, cost of living and housing market on Long Island will translate into consumers' spending 4.5 percent more in November and December, considered the busiest shopping season of the year, according to The NPD Group, a Port Washington-based market research company.

"The holidays fare better on Long Island than any place else," said Marshal Cohen, chief industry analyst with The NPD Group. "All economic indicators always favor Long Island to be happier during the holidays. A lot of it is subject to the weather, like if it snows or rains."

Nationwide, the National Retail Federation expects holiday sales to be up 4.1 percent, to $616.9 billion. Not since 2011 have holiday sales increased by more than 4 percent, according to the NRF.

But Cohen said he predicts that sales will increase nationally by only 3.5 percent, and that holiday season promotions will start as early as Nov. 1 to attract shoppers.

Discounts are expected to be widespread this season, experts said. "The biggest tip for all is not to buy anything full price from now until the holidays," Hofstra University business professor Joel R. Evans said. "There would be a sale on everything they want to buy, whether it is online or in the store."

The final two months of the year account, on average, for 19.2 percent of the retail industry's $3.2 trillion in annual sales, according to the National Retail Federation.

"Retailers could see a welcome boost in holiday shopping, giving some companies the shot in the arm they need after a volatile first half of the year and an uneventful summer," NRF president and CEO Matthew Shay said. He added NRF expects "shoppers will be extremely price sensitive."

PwC and its subsidiary, Strategy& -- formerly global management consulting firm Booz & Co. -- found that those who make less than $50,000 a year plan to spend $377 for the holidays, down from $435 last year. But those who make $50,000 or more plan to spend about the same as a year earlier, about $978.

"Spending will depend on a person's income," Evans said. "There would be people spending virtually nothing, like buying a $25 gift card. The one good thing is that gas and fuel prices would be down, which means consumers have more money in their pocket to spend."

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