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NRF: Holiday looks good for JCP & Macy’s

Washington – As consumers plan to step up the amount of shopping they do at department stores this year, JCPenney and Macy’s will probably experience higher traffic levels than last year, according to a researcher studying holiday purchasing behavior for the National Retail Federation.

“Last year, department stores lost shoppers to discount because of $3 gas and news of high heating prices,” said Phi l Rist, vp of BIGresearch . “Some of the middle consumers are feeling better and going back where they came from.”

Rist noted that department stores also have sharpened their marketing to younger groups, improved their fashion and are becoming seen as a destination for this segment. That, coupled with the channel’s promotional stance during the holidays, makes the department store the venue with “the best merchandise at the best price.”

This year, 61.6% of consumers plan to shop in department stores vs. 59.4% last year. While the discount channel still constitutes the largest segment consumers plan to visit (70.3%), the number is off slightly from last year (71.4%).

BIGresearch found regular Wal-Mart shoppers plan to spend about $764.09 this year. That’s slightly less than the average consumer’s budget of $791.10, and well below the regular Macy’s shopper’s holiday kitty of $1,102.15.

“The real issue we’re seeing this year between both groups is still the impact of gas prices,” said Rist . “ Even though gas prices are down, they’re still high and still fluctuating.”

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