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11/25/2013 - Holiday sales to outpace last year

Experts predict this holiday season will be a busy one for consumers.

It's expected to be a jolly holiday shopping season, indeed, for the nation's retailers, a new report predicts.

In its holiday sales forecast, financial advisory and tax services firm Deloitte indicated, that retailers can expect to see modest improvements over 2012's numbers, with the total value of purchases ranging between $960 and $970 billion, which would be a 4% jump from last year.

Online businesses - which Deloitte refers to as "non-store sales" – are also looking strong as well. By the time December ends, buying activity in this category could be 13% ahead of what took place during this period 12 months ago.

Alison Paul, vice chairman of distribution for the New York City based consulting and risk management company, noted that how consumers buy through the world wide web informs business owners as to what they can expect to see in their brick-and-mortar establishments.

"Shoppers researching their purchases electronically - via their PC, tablet or mobile phone - are increasingly influencing in-store sales, particularly as we see greater integration across retailers' store, online and mobile channels," said Paul. "More retailers are offering services such as 'buy online and pick up in store,' as well as inventory from other locations and price matching on the spot."

She added that while online purchases continue to be a major source of revenue for retailers, the in-store shopping experience is the overarching way in which merchandise is purchased.

According to, the day after Thanksgiving - traditionally one of the busiest shopping days of the year - is anticipated to be another banner selling period for retailers. While sales look positive, business owners should be cautious as many Black Friday "door buster" sales events have led to instances where customers received injuries due to crowds forming.  Due to this, retailers may want to consider updating their businessowners insurance policies to account for these potential liability issues.

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