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N.Y. Retailers Upbeat On Holiday ’07 Sales

More than three-quarters of New York retailers believe their sales during the upcoming holiday shopping season will be at least as good or better than last...

ALBANY, N.Y. — More than three-quarters of New York retailers believe their sales during the upcoming holiday shopping season will be at least as good or better than last year’s, according to a survey by the Retail Council of New York State.

When asked whether they anticipated 2007 holiday season sales to be better than, worse than or the same as last year’s holiday season, members’ responses varied, with the majority of survey participants expressing a positive outlook. According to the results, 37 percent said they expect sales to be better; 41 percent said the same; 21 percent said worse, and 1 percent had no response.

“The forecast for the holiday selling season is bright with 78 percent of respondents telling us they believe their sales will be better than or about the same as last year,” said James Sherin, president and chief executive officer of the Retail Council. “Despite negativity on the part of economic analysts and prognosticators in advance of the holiday season, our members appear to be upbeat and have realistic expectations of what lies ahead.”

However, on the consumer side of the issue, many plan to cut back on overall spending, while more than three in four Internet users plan to do as much or more of their holiday shopping online this year as they did last year, according to a new AOL Shopping/Zogby Interactive poll of Internet users in the top 20 U.S. markets.

According to the AOL/Zogby poll, 74 percent of poll respondents plan to do at least some holiday shopping online, and 26 percent plan to spend at least half of their holiday shopping dollars online. According to the poll, the top online purchases include books, music or movies (57 percent); clothing, shoes and accessories (32 percent), and gift cards (23 percent).

The survey also found that more than a third of holiday shoppers plan to cut back their gift-buying budgets this year. The main reasons cited were: lower income this year (28 percent), general economic concerns (25 percent) and increasing energy prices (19 percent). Forty-five percent plan to spend less than $500, and only 16 percent plan to spend more than $1,000 on holiday gifts this year.

“The poll findings are a clear indication that consumers, on tighter budgets this holiday season, recognize the many benefits of shopping online, including the ability to save time and money,” said Robert Hayes, vice president and general manager of AOL Commerce.

“These [consumer] polls come and go,” said Ted Potrikas, spokesman for the Retail Council. “And a person’s feelings about shopping, particularly during the holiday season, are oftentimes governed by sentiment. The best laid plans often go right out the window when you get into a store or when you get online.”