Craig Rowley

A survey released yesterday by Hay Group, a global management consultancy, reported that 68 percent of retailers expect holiday sales to increase this year. An overwhelming majority89 percentsay they are not planning to offer deeper discounts on Black Friday; while 94 percent will not discount on Cyber Monday this year. Sixty-three percent of retailers plan to start promotions in November, but some early birds plan to begin in October (13 percent), September (6 percent) and even August (6 percent), according to the Hay Group report. Despite this, hiring plans remain conservative, with 67 percent of retailers hiring at the

Most major American retailers plan to hire the same number of temporary holiday workers as last year, according to a survey by a top industry consultant, underscoring that store chains continue to view the coming season with caution. Still, the annual Hay Group survey found that more than one-fifth of respondents expected to hire more seasonal help than in 2009, a sign that store chains aren't expecting shoppers to hibernate this winter, even if they fail to fully resume free-spending ways.

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