Study: Twin Cities shoppers to spend more this holiday season

8:05 AM, Nov 17, 2011   |    comments
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ST. PAUL, Minn. -- A new study shows shoppers in the Twin Cities may be more willing to spend money this holiday season.

It's the middle of the week in the middle of the morning and Karma, a clothing boutique in the heart of Grand and Victoria, is really busy.

"We like it when it's packed in here," says owner Jada Breuer.

Breuer says September and October were her best months yet in the six years since her store opened. She's weathered the economic storm. And so have shoppers it seems, who have been conservative about where to spend their money.

"This year I think a lot of people feel a bit different, a little bit more at ease of going out and spending a little more than years before," says Karma shopper Cabrini Shaller.

What we saw in Karma is playing out across the Twin Cities.

For 10 years, University of St. Thomas researchers have gauged the holiday spending sentiment of Twin Cities shoppers and after two dismal years, they've now found shoppers may once again be ready to spend.

Household spending for holiday gifts is predicted to be 3.4 percent higher this year than last. And total spending in the metro will go up by 4.6 percent.

Just three years ago, in the middle of the great recession, shoppers were trimming their budgets by more than 10 percent.

This year, the survey says 10 percent of shoppers will spend more this year.

"This is going to be a good solid, holiday spending period of time," says UST professor David Brennan.

David Brennan, who headed the study, says retail predictions are looking good because the Twin Cities is ahead of the nation in employment numbers and our economy remains diversified - all leading to more consumer spending.

"Every single category has shown positive results for the last few months and that hasn't happened in several years," says Brennan.

Another interesting finding from the UST study is this: the top two stores where shoppers say they will spend their money this holiday are Target and Macy's.

And across the country, the National Retail Federation says holiday sales are expected to go up nearly three percent.

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