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IBISWorld: Holiday sales to grow 3.3%

Los Angeles -- After a strong Black Friday and Cyber Monday, overall holiday spending is expected to increase 3.3% to $64.3 billion, according to the  industry research firm IBISWorld.

During the six-week period from Nov. 1 through Dec. 25, lingering unemployment will keep holiday retail sales from hitting pre-recessionary levels, despite the decline in aggregate household debt. However, retailers can still expect an uptick across all holiday categories, IBISWorld predicted. Leading categories for gifts will be jewelry, which is slated to grow 7.1% to $4.7 billion, and electronics, which is forecast to increase 6.8% to $7.0 billion.

“The luxury market has led the economy in recovery, showing signs of growth throughout 2011,” said IBISWorld senior analyst Nikoleta Panteva. “The holidays are an especially appropriate time for consumers to purchase splurge-worthy items like jewelry for their loved ones.”

Electronics are expected to fare well this season due to the onslaught of new product introductions calling for gadget upgrades. And clothing purchases are expected to make a comeback this year, increasing 3.4% from 2010 to $8.5 billion. High-end, designer wear and children’s apparel are likely to lead the pack in sales growth, seeing that they were put on the backburner in the past few years.

Gift card sales will only increase by 2.8% this year from 2010, to $5.7 billion, due to consumers’ need for more personalized gifts, according to IBISWorld.