Holiday shoppers reaching deeper into their wallets

Published On: Dec 24 2012 06:38:51 PM CST   Updated On: Dec 24 2012 06:47:07 PM CST
ONALASKA, Wis. -

A national report shows shoppers may be stuffing their stockings a little more this holiday season.

The National Retail Federation projected holiday sales will increase 4.1 percent this year, its most optimistic forecast since the recession.

It takes a special breed of person to brave the crowds at the mall on the day before Christmas, especially when that person is already done with all his holiday shopping.

"Well, I came to view all the craziness," said Alex Sharon, who spent the morning at Valley View Mall.

Even though he wasn’t there to shop, Alex Sharon spent a pretty penny on his holiday gifts this year.

"Well, we just got engaged, so I spent a little over a thousand just on her," said Sharon.

He might be setting the bar high, but he's definitely not alone in spending more on the holidays this year.

Valley View Mall General Manager Jeff Odom said the NRF’s predictions has been pretty consistent with what he's seeing.

"I think we're going to be trending to what the National Retail Federation put out -- around a 3-4 percent sales growth compared to last year,” said Odom. “The feedback that I'm getting across the board is that it's been a good holiday season."

Part of that may have to do with the timing of Christmas this year. Since it falls on a Tuesday, shoppers have had an extra weekend to buy gifts.

It's made a big difference at Valley View Mall.

"Saturday was a huge day for us, probably the biggest day of the year. Sunday followed up just right behind that," said Odom.

And while some may dread holiday shopping like a lump of coal in their stockings, shopper Brytani Shea said it's the best part of the holiday -- even if it's cost her $800 this year.

"I guess I'm a fan of giving,” said Shea. “It's definitely my favorite part of Christmas."

The NRF reports holiday shopping can represent 20-40 percent of some retailers' annual sales.