BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The near future looks bright for retailers, especially now that we’re in the holiday shopping season. Experts say stores can expect to see better sales this year.

Gigi Barnett explains why.

No time wasted at the Target in Canton. One day after Halloween, Christmas trees decorate the aisles.

Consider it your official notice: the holiday shopping season is on.

“I have tons of things put away for the kids,” said Target shopper Marcia Norris.

That’s because Norris picks up deals all year long.

“You know you’re going to buy for your grandkids; you know you’re going to buy for your children,” Norris said. “The deals are all year long.”

But over the next two months, experts say retailers will also have a happy holiday, as the sales forecast is as bright as a star.

“We’re projecting an increase in sales between three and three and a half percent,” said Patrick Donoho.

Donoho heads up the Maryland Retailers’ Association, a business watch group in Annapolis. He says there are two reasons why consumers are much more willing to spend this year.

“The consumer confidence is growing. They’re feeling more secure financially and the second reason is the gas prices have come down, giving people more disposable income,” Donoho said.

But it’s the shopping choices in other nearby states and savvy online customers that will fuel fierce competition and swipe some of the profit from stores here. Donoho’s solution for retailers: get more consumers to “Shop Maryland.”

“They’re going to step up their game on service, so when you go into a store, I’d expect to see more promotions, better service, those kinds of things,” he said.

Another boost to the state’s bottom line this holiday season will be Small Business Saturday. It’s the day after Black Friday, when small businesses—usually located on Main Streets around the state—will be able to cash in with confident consumers.

Maryland’s boost in sales this holiday is still lower than the national average, which experts say will be closer to four percent.

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