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ND Retailers 'cautiously optimistic' about upcoming Christmas shopping season

By Dave Thompson

Bismarck, ND – The head of the North Dakota Retail Association says shops are cautiously optimistic about this Christmas shopping season.

Russ Hanson says he's been hearing the reports about an economy in recession. But he believes it's worse on the coasts than it is in mid-America.

"The retailers through the midwest I don't think are feeling as bad of a crunch as some of the retailers are on the coasts. So we're going to remain cautiously optimistic. Our estimations are at this point preliminary. We're looking for a modest increase over last year. And again, we'll just have to wait to see how the holiday season plays out. We're looking at a percent and a half to two percent increase over last year." :26)

Hanson says retailers are also hoping that Congress will pass a "sales tax holiday" for the first ten days of the Christmas shopping season. He says that will help make consumers feel better about spending.

"Congress is looking at an economic stimulus package that perhaps could include a national sales tax holiday, which certainly would, in our opinion, make the shoppers feel a whole lot better about going out to spend money, and things like that. So, we remain optimistic. We believe in the resiliancy of the U-S consumer and we're hopeful that we'll have a solid shopping season this holiday."