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Holiday Decorating Bigger in Bed and Bath

Home decorating for the holidays now permeates the home, and that should spur the sales of holiday linens this year, according to one National Retail Federation executive.

Dan Butler, vp of retailer operations and merchandising, told reporters recently that he sees a focus on seasonal bath accessories, "and you're seeing more and more people adding for the bed." He also expects throws to be a strong category this holiday season.

Collectibles remain hot, and collectible ornaments are picking up heat, Butler said. "This year, we're seeing more [ornaments] that are $50, $75, $100 each."

Within the personal care category, the trend is toward massagers and items related to massage, he said.

"There are strong choices for consumers to buy stuff from the home store whether for themselves, as a gift or for the home," said Butler. "What's important is more retailers are selling more of those types of items, so consumers have a lot of choice."

Butler also anticipates eco-friendly gift-giving this year. "We think green retailing resonates with the consumer, and we think there's gong to be a fair amount of gifts given. And retailers are going to promote them this year."

In general, far fewer retailers have set their stores for Christmas at this point in time compared to last year. Butler speculated that they're holding back to make the shift more of an occasion.

Scott Krugman, NRF vp of public relations, noted that 40% of consumers start their holiday shopping in October, focusing especially on preparatory goods such as gift wrap and home décor.

NRF has forecast that holiday sales — retail sales for November and December — will climb 4.0% this year to $447.5 billion.

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