New holiday shopping forecast hints at record season

Christmas shoppers are spreading their holiday cheer, and their holiday dollar, at a record pace in 2011.

The National Retail Federation is revising its holiday shopping forecast, thanks to stronger sales reports and a successful Black Friday.

In its first report, the Federation forecasted sales to grow 2.8 percent this holiday, but it now says its expecting sales to grow even more than projected. That means a potential spending record could be set.

"This year is a little better," Landover resident Denise Brown said. "Last year, I wasn't able to buy as much. I'm definitely buying more."

Revised projections from the NRF say that they now expect sales to rise by a full percentage point more - 3.8 percent - to a record $469.1 billion.

"We're on the upswing," Northeast D.C. resident Marissa Zapata says. "If there was another droop in the economy, I think it would have shown by now."

With purchases big and small, retail sales rose 4.5 percent last month from November of 2010. What more, less than half of Americans say they're done shopping; a hint to economists that spending may exceed expectations.

"We're all kind of more hopeful, getting into the Christmas spirit and buying more practical gifts," Brown says.