West North Central region

In stark contrast to all the doom-and-gloom predictions for multichannel merchants this upcoming holiday season, a new report says U.S. households are expected to spend an average of $471 on gifts during the holiday season, up from last year’s estimate of $449. According to The Conference Board’s Christmas Spending Survey 2007, which polled 5,000 U.S. households this month, consumers are willing to spend more this holiday season than last. Below are some more highlights from the survey. * The top-spending households will be in East South Central states, which include Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi and Tennessee; this group intends to spend $583, the survey says;

Despite reports earlier this month that retail spending is down due to general economic uncertainty and the unusually warm fall weather across the country, a new report by The Conference Board says that more Americans than ever have discretionary income at their disposal. Nearly 73 million U.S. households now have discretionary income, up from about 57 million in 2002. That’s nearly 64 percent of the U.S. population with discretionary income, a 12 percent increase over ’02. The report defines discretionary income as households whose spendable income exceeds that held by households with similar demographic features. Here are some more of the report’s findings. *

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