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Experts Say Looming Fiscal Cliff Cut Holiday Sales Projections

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Mike Hellgren 370x278 Mike Hellgren
WJZ general assignment reporter Mike Hellgren came to Maryland's News...
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BALTIMORE (WJZ)—There are plenty of people looking for gifts and buying the last few ingredients for that holiday meal. But the coming fiscal cliff has analysts downgrading sales projections.

Mike Hellgren breaks down the numbers.

Those looking for the perfect gift at the last minute packed malls across Maryland but retail analysts predicted sales would rise less than expected—just two and a half percent over last year. They believe the fiscal cliff crisis is causing concern among some shoppers, who fear they’ll have less take-home pay in the New Year, along with worries over the increasing likelihood of a recession. And they see dampened enthusiasm in the sorrow following the Connecticut school shooting.

Still, WJZ found plenty of people who were in the spirit to spend.

“I waited until the last minute to do some Christmas shopping. I waited until the last minute to get it all done before the mall closes,” said shopper Terry Booker.

“Very last minute gifts. I’ll be in trouble if I don’t from my wife,” said shopper Evan Friedman.

Consumer Reports estimates some 17 million people from coast to coast are shopping Monday.

Stores typically make almost half of their annual sales in November and December alone.

“We started Black Friday really strong. Last week was really busy,” said Annie Wildasin, Towson Town Center.

Many have tried to ramp up enthusiasm with big deals, some as good as the Black Friday doorbusters.

“Things were like 70% off and I did a lot of online shopping, too. That was great for me this year,” said Tamika Collins.

“We got some stuff wrapped. We’re going to pick that up and then we’re going to head home and off to the races for the holidays,” Friedman said.

The Northeast and Mid-Atlantic account for a quarter of retail sales nationwide.

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