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Study Predicts Better Holiday Shopping Season for US Retailers

FILE - Mannequins display fashions in an storefront window in New York.

New data show U.S. retailers may have a stronger holiday shopping season this year.

U.S. stores usually see a surge of shoppers in November and December, as families prepare for religious and patriotic holidays that involve gift-giving and family celebrations. The level of holiday sales can spell the difference between profit and loss for many stores.

A new study by Accenture says increased optimism about personal finances and job security mean a quarter of consumers plan to spend more on holiday gifts this year. Accenture also predicts more and more of those purchases will be made on-line, particularly on mobile devices.

Another continuing trend is the growing use of gift cards, which allow the recipient to use the money on the card to go to a store and pick out what they want, so the size, color and other details meet their needs.

A separate study published by the National Retail Federation shows unusually strong cargo traffic at U.S. ports, as retailers stock up to meet anticipated demand from newly confident consumers.

The trade group earlier predicted that holiday sales will rise more than 4 percent this year.