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More time for holiday shopping

By Mark Hamrick · Bankrate.com
Monday, November 25, 2013
Posted: 1 pm ET

How many times have you heard someone say there's not enough time in the day?

A number of big retailers apparently feel that way, too, as many plan to start the holiday shopping season on Thanksgiving Day this year. For shoppers, the unofficial start of the season has for years been Black Friday, but with an eye toward getting an advantage over rivals, a growing number of stores have opted to open on the holiday itself. These include Kmart, Wal-Mart, Target, Best Buy and Macy's.

Even with the extra time, this year's increase in holiday sales is expected to be relatively modest. The main industry trade group, the National Retail Federation, predicts a sales rise this year of 3.9 percent. Spokeswoman Kathy Grannis says the attraction of Black Friday will remain intact. "It is still the one day of the year that consumers expect the greatest deals, and it is also the one day of the year that retailers want to give them those deals," she says.

Could holiday sales come in better than expected?  Sterne Agee chief economist Lindsey Piegza says several surprising factors could combine to bolster consumer spirits. They include the continued rally in the stock market, falling gasoline prices and home price gains. In a report, Piegza said, "While many retailers fear declining sentiment may damage sales figures at year-end, the few hints of optimism will help provide relief to many households and may just be enough to save Christmas."

As for those who avoid the malls to find deals on the Internet? Well, online retailers are expected to continue sales growth. IHS Global Insight economist Chris Christopher says "e-commerce retail sales were 5.9 percent of retail trade (or total retail sales excluding restaurants) and are projected to grow to over 7 percent by 2016." Christopher says, "Clearly the clicks are outpacing the bricks."

Want to hear more? Listen to our Podcast with Kathy Grannis on holiday shopping as well as commentary from Bankrate analysts on everything from spending to gift cards.

Are you planning on heading out on Thanksgiving Day to find some shopping bargains? Or do you plan to shop more online?

Follow me on Twitter: @hamrickisms.

Bankrate Audio

Mark

Hamrick

Washington Bureau Chief, Bankrate.com

Kathy

Grannis

Spokeswoman, National Retail Federation

Greg

McBride

CFA, senior financial analyst, Bankrate.com

Janna

Herron

Credit Card Analyst, Reporter, Bankrate.com

Holiday shopping survival kit

From Black Friday to gift cards, here's what to know about the 2013 holiday shopping season.

LISTEN TO AUDIO

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