WASHINGTON — The average American household will spend $452 on gifts this Christmas, up from about $430 last year, according to a new survey by the Conference Board.
This increase, combined with household population growth, should lift holiday retail sales 5.5 percent over last year, the Conference Board said.
The figures are much more conservative than a forecast recently released by the National Retail Federation, which predicted consumers would spend 12 percent more this year on holiday gifts — $764 versus $685.
The Conference Board says the biggest holiday spending should come in New England, where households will spend an average of $722. Mid-Atlantic and central Northeast households also are expected to spend more than the board’s predicted national average, $538 and $486, respectively.
Lynn Franco, associate director of the Conference Board’s Research Center, said the expected rise in holiday spending is consistent with recent economic trends — strong consumer confidence, controlled inflation and healthy wage gains.

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