(NECN: Peter Howe, Braintree, Mass.) After two down-to-flat years of holiday spending, experts project Christmas and Hanukkah sales will be up 2.3 percent this year with the improving economy. And in Massachusetts and New Hampshire, retail associations are predicting twice as big a jump.
Leaders of the National Retail Federation and Retailers Association of Massachusetts see signs, too, shoppers are feeling more willing to open their wallets for luxury items like jewelry, electronics, and fine apparel, after two or three years of turning needed purchases into gifts.
Also bolstering retailers' optimism: the steep drop in Massachusetts unemployment in October to 8.1 percent, its lowest rate in 18 months. With more jobs, more income, and more confidence in the economy, retail leaders are hoping New Englanders and Americans will see the 2010 season as a time to step up their generosity.
With videographers Daniel Ferrigan and John Stuart