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NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - American consumers are expected to spend 2.9 percent more during the holiday season as they look for bargains and pay fewer visits to stores, according to leading research firm.
U.S. consumers have gone shopping less often in 2010, but spent more per visit because shopping trips were planned around deals and promotions. ShopperTrak said it expects that trend to continue during November and December.
Earlier this month, the National Retail Federation forecast holiday retail sales, excluding online sales, would rise 2.3 percent this year.
ShopperTrak said that so far in 2010, visits to regular stores had decreased 2.8 percent on a weekly basis, but had risen 2.5 percent at outlet stores, illustrating peoples' bargain-hunting habits.
ShopperTrak forecast a 3.4 percent increase in sales of clothing and accessories, and a 3.6 percent increase in personal electronics.
In 2009, U.S. retail sales slid 0.4 percent and foot traffic fell 3.4 percent, according to ShopperTrak, continuing sharp falls from 2008 at the height of a global financial markets crisis.
Reporting by Phil Wahba, editing by Maureen Bavdek