Holiday sales predictions good despite fiscal cliff

Published On: Nov 15 2012 04:10:27 PM EST
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -

Karen Long and her granddaughter Ayana were perusing the mall in search of Christmas presents Thursday.

"I think she is going to cost me a little bit, but I'm still going to try and stay within a budget for sure," Long said.

Donna Mobley saved all year to buy gifts for her family.

"I won't spend as much because right now I budget for things that they need verses what they want," Mobley said.

The Great Recession has changed people's shopping habits. The trend has been to spend less, but this year retailers say people are more optimistic about the economy.

"Americans are feeling more confident about their financial situations," said Rick McAllister, of Florida Retail Federation.

The Florida Retail Federation is predicting a 5.2 percent increase in holiday shopping. They say the average shopper will spend $750 on gifts, up $10 from a year ago.

The prediction comes as gridlock in Washington D.C. brings the country closer to the fiscal cliff. If Congress and the president can't reach a deal by the end of the year, Florida families could see their taxes increase by $3,500.

Shoppers say it's too early to be worried.

"Not before Christmas, we'll see what happens after Christmas," Long said.

Retailers have this message for Washington.

"What a great Christmas present for all the citizens of American if they could get together and solve this problem now," McAllister said.

While consumer confidence seems unphased by the looming crisis, reaching a deal sooner than later can solidify the mood.

Democrats are pushing for eliminating tax breaks for families making more than $250,000 a year. Republicans want cuts to entitlements.

President Barack Obama will meet with House Speaker John Boehner on Friday to begin the negotiations.

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