The International Council of Shopping Centers released a somewhat upbeat forecast for the upcoming holiday shopping season.
The trade group, in my experience, is typically a bit more impartial and less of a cheerleader than the National Retail Federation.
The ICSC said in its holiday forecast that retail sales in November and December will be "a lot better than last year." In the three different sales measurements it studied, the group expects holiday sales to increase between 1 percent to 2 percent.
That forecast is "not strong but is likely to be much better than in 2008 and signal better times ahead in 2010," the report said.
This holiday season will be the first in three years that is not taking place during a recession.
In addition, some retail capacity has been removed. Lean inventories and an improving economy are a favorable combination for those that "price right," in this environment, the report said. Those lean inventories and reasonable prices will allow many retailers to withstand discounting, according to the ICSC.
Some sales that may be at risk are day after Thanksgiving sales, where as many as one-third of shoppers may typically buy goods for themselves to take advantage of deep discounts. Because retailers have offered great prices all the year, the ICSC believes shoppers won't be as tempted to splurge on themselves.