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Consumer Holiday Spending: Still Weak, But May Rise

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By Sabri Ben-Achour

As holiday promotions start appearing in store windows, some consumers are preparing to spend a little more.

Discounts have begun to deck the halls of Pentagon city Mall in Arlington Virginia, where shopper Kathy Gregory is thinking about holiday spending. "I'm spending more this year," says Gregory. "I didn't do anything last year, so anything more is a lot."

But Gregory says she's definitely not spending like she used to. "No, never again," says Gregory.

Some economists say consumers may, like Gregory, end up spending more this year. At least a little bit. "By the standards of what we got used to for most of this decade, but compared to last year's dismal results it's going to be better," says Bill Hampel, chief economist for the Credit Union National Association.

Hampel says fewer consumers are cutting back this year, though many still are. Hampel predicts spending will stay the same or even rise two to three percent.

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