Early Optimism From Mass. Retailers About Holiday Shopping Season

BOSTON (AP) — The state’s retailers are cautiously optimistic about the holiday shopping season.

The Retailers Association of Massachusetts is forecasting a 2.4 percent increase in holiday sales, compared to last year. The forecast is based on a survey of the group’s 3,400 members around the state.

The projected increase would be smaller than the 7 percent gain during the last holiday season, and is also slightly below the national forecast of a 2.8 percent increase.

Holiday retail sales had dipped for three consecutive years in Massachusetts before rising in 2010.

The association’s president, Jon Hurst, says retailers expect seasonal store hiring to be about the same as last year.

Smart phones, tablets and other electronic items are expected to be among the most popular gift purchases.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.

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