Shoppers getting in spending mood

Retail sales up; gas prices down

SAN ANTONIO – Fall is an early holiday gift for retailers. Consumers, feeling more confident about the economy and enjoying a little savings at the gas pump, are getting into the spending mood.

Stephanie Sanchez has already been shopping for her 8-year-old twins.

"They get very excited," she said. "They start circling the ads. I've got to get the best deals as early as I can."

The National Retail Federation predicted consumers will put a little more jingle in the cash registers this year with holiday shoppers, on average, spending $804. That's mostly for gifts and an increase of nearly 5 percent over last  year's $767.

"I'm spending more this year," said Alfreda Clay, who also started her gift-buying.

Retail sales were up .3 percent for October, according to the Commerce Department. That's more than was expected after a down September. 

Fueling those early fall purchases -- falling gas prices. Shoppers have more discretionary money because it's not going into their tanks. The average price in San Antonio is $2.70 a gallon, according to AAA. That's the lowest in four years. 

Something else seems to have people in the holiday spirit: Jack Frost has made an appearance.

"It's easier to shop when it's 40 degrees," said Katie Peterson. "It's so much easier to hear the Christmas music when it's cold out here."

Retailers now hope sales are as brisk.

About the Author: