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ICSC: Inventory worries will spur shoppers on Black Friday

New York – A higher number of consumers plan to go shopping on Black Friday this year, according to a survey released last week by the International Council of Shopping Centers and Goldman Sachs.

Some 16% of respondents said they'd begin their holiday shopping the day after Thanksgiving this year, up from 10% in 2007 and 2008 and an earlier high of 13% in 2006. 

The projected rise is due to consumer awareness that inventory levels are lower this year, so coveted merchandise may run out early, said ICSC's spokeswoman Erin Hershkowitz. 

The survey found that consumers are planning to spend an average of $543 on gifts and another $133 on gift cards this holiday – compared to year-ago figures of $533 for gifts and $173 for gift cards. 

The ICSC has forecast holiday sales to rise about 1% to 2% this year.

"ICSC Research thinks the holiday spending performance will be better than these pre-season consumer expectations, which is often the case following business cycle turning points in the economy," said Michael Niemira, ICSC's director of research and chief economist.

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