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9 Cards in this Set

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The hottest toys of the season, as reported in the NRF's Holiday Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey, are Barbie and Bratz dolls for girls, while boys are hoping for video games and Spiderman memorabilia under their trees later this month. Other popular toys include remote-control toys, Leap Frog, Dora the Explorer, Care Bears, Cabbage Patch Kids and Hot Wheels.
Marshall, Jessica. "Consumers ring in the holiday shopping season." The Johnson County Sun. December 2, 2004. December 2, 2004 <http://www.zwire.com/site/news.cfm?newsid=13474858&BRD=1459&PAG=461&dept_id=155725&rfi=6>.
"The NRF also found that 74 percent of consumers will purchase a gift card during the holidays, with the average consumer spending 11.5 percent of their holiday budget on gift cards. Consumers are expected to spend an astounding $17.3 billion on gift cards, compared to just $100 million last year."
Marshall, Jessica. "Consumers ring in the holiday shopping season." The Johnson County Sun. 2 December 2004. 2 December 2004 <http://www.zwire.com/site/news.cfm?newsid=13474858&BRD=1459&PAG=461&dept_id=155725&rfi=6>.
It's the time of year for family gatherings, listening to holiday music, enjoying hot chocolate and homemade goodies, and reflecting on the meaning of the season, the year behind us and the year that lies ahead.

Oh, and we're also in the throes of the holiday shopping season.

National reports released earlier this week show that the season started Friday, also known as Black Friday or the day of profit, with American shoppers spending $8 billion, more than a 10 percent increase from last year. Total weekend sales rounded out at $22.8 billion, while $220 billion is expected in total holiday sales this year, up 5 percent.
Marshall, Jessica. "Consumers ring in the holiday shopping season." The Johnson County Sun. 2 December 2004. 2 December 2004 <http://www.zwire.com/site/news.cfm?newsid=13474858&BRD=1459&PAG=461&dept_id=155725&rfi=6>.
Marshall, Jessica. "Consumers ring in the holiday shopping season." The Johnson County Sun. 2 December 2004. 2 December 2004 <http://www.zwire.com/site/news.cfm?newsid=13474858&BRD=1459&PAG=461&dept_id=155725&rfi=6>.
Marshall, Jessica. "Consumers ring in the holiday shopping season." The Johnson County Sun. 2 December 2004. 2 December 2004 <http://www.zwire.com/site/news.cfm?newsid=13474858&BRD=1459&PAG=461&dept_id=155725&rfi=6>.
Thousands of people in the Johnson County area alone rolled out of bed - after eating too much turkey, presumably - Friday morning armed with fliers full of door-busting, early-bird deals from retailers such as Target, Best Buy and Toys R Us, ready to kick off the holiday shopping season. They lined up at 5 a.m., and after hitting all the hot spots, managed to find their way home around 10 p.m. or so.

Chaotic aisles, quickly emptying shelves, long checkout lines and full parking lots around the area indicated that the Thanksgiving-to-Christmas season, which accounts for a quarter of annual retail sales, looks good.
Marshall, Jessica. "Consumers ring in the holiday shopping season." The Johnson County Sun. 2 December 2004. 2 December 2004 <http://www.zwire.com/site/news.cfm?newsid=13474858&BRD=1459&PAG=461&dept_id=155725&rfi=6>.
Linda Leeper, Shawnee Area Chamber of Commerce president, said Tuesday that she hadn't heard from any retailers in Shawnee yet about the turnout of the weekend shopping rush.

"I'm thinking once the numbers come in it will be good," she said. "In Shawnee, we've continued to grow our retail base and our sales tax revenue, a 3 to 4.5 percent increase over last year, ... and we have a lot more coming our way.

"I know some businesses, (namely) Wal-Mart posted lower turnout than expected nationwide, but that was because they didn't have as many low price-busters as they usually do. But I think, generally speaking, sales will be up this year."
Marshall, Jessica. "Consumers ring in the holiday shopping season." The Johnson County Sun. 2 December 2004. 2 December 2004 <http://www.zwire.com/site/news.cfm?newsid=13474858&BRD=1459&PAG=461&dept_id=155725&rfi=6>.
According to Reuters, Wal-Mart Stores Inc., the world's largest retailer, did report lower-than-expected figures over the weekend, saying its November sales "failed to meet expectations." Sales rose only 0.7 percent, compared to a forecasted 2 percent to 4 percent rise.

Though the after-Thanksgiving weekend was considered a success for many other retailers, stores recognize that the bulk of holiday shopping is yet to come. "Retailers know that the holiday season is not a sprint, it's a marathon," said NRF President Tracy Mullin. "Black Friday weekend is just the beginning of a month-long race to the finish line."
Marshall, Jessica. "Consumers ring in the holiday shopping season." The Johnson County Sun. 2 December 2004. 2 December 2004 <http://www.zwire.com/site/news.cfm?newsid=13474858&BRD=1459&PAG=461&dept_id=155725&rfi=6>.
Though the after-Thanksgiving weekend was considered a success for many other retailers, stores recognize that the bulk of holiday shopping is yet to come. "Retailers know that the holiday season is not a sprint, it's a marathon," said NRF President Tracy Mullin. "Black Friday weekend is just the beginning of a month-long race to the finish line."

Despite high numbers out of the gates, it appears some retail analysts are expecting overall sales to come in lower than last year because of a still-shaky U.S. economy, and high oil prices driving up heating bills and biting into lower-income families' budgets. However, spending in the Midwest looks strong, they said.
Marshall, Jessica. "Consumers ring in the holiday shopping season." The Johnson County Sun. 2 December 2004. 2 December 2004 <http://www.zwire.com/site/news.cfm?newsid=13474858&BRD=1459&PAG=461&dept_id=155725&rfi=6>.
According to NRF's survey, 62 percent of shoppers headed to discount retailers this weekend, while 44 percent picked up gifts at department stores and 41 percent at specialty stores. Also, as of Sunday, Americans on average had completed 37 percent of their holiday shopping, and only one in 12 consumers were finished with their holiday shopping.
Marshall, Jessica. "Consumers ring in the holiday shopping season." The Johnson County Sun. 2 December 2004. 2 December 2004 <http://www.zwire.com/site/news.cfm?newsid=13474858&BRD=1459&PAG=461&dept_id=155725&rfi=6>.