CHART OF THE DAY: Will Holiday Spending Recover This Year?

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Holiday sales will be the great test of our recovery. Wall Street analysts and industry insiders are predicting a mild uptick in sales over last year’s historic loss. The forecast from the International Council of Shopping centres is for 1% growth and $242 billion, which seems rather conservative.

But what if ICSC is too optimistic? The forecasted number is lower than the peaks of 2006 and 2007 but slightly higher than the $239 billion spent during the holidays in 2005. We’re sceptical about the proposition that Americans will spend slightly more this year than they did in 2005. That year unemployment was half of what it is now and median home prices had gone up 13.4%. Are we really ready to spend like we did back then?

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