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Retailers Already Starting Christmas Countdown

Christmas is 99 days away. But for retailers, the countdown is already on. They're trying to grab shoppers' attention early, because sales are expected to be weak this year.
The leaves haven't even changed color yet, but retailers across the country are already worrying about the holidays.

A new forecast from shopper-track predicts sales in November and December will rise 2.4-percent.
That's the smallest increase since 2009, when the economy was just starting to dig out of the recession.

Many people are dealing with high gas prices, unemployment, and the prospect of higher health care costs.
It's still early, so the prediction isn't a sure bet.

But other data also shows shoppers aren't ready to splurge yet.
Back-to-school sales barely rose, consumer sentiment dropped this month, and WalMart, the world's biggest retailer, recently issued a weak forecast.

Add to that, Americans will have fewer days to shop this holiday season.
Thanksgiving is late, leaving 25 days between Black Friday and Christmas, compared to 31 last year.

So no surprise, retailers are gearing up for the holidays a bit early this year.

K-mart has already started airing holiday commercials.
And WalMart and Toys R Us already released their lists of 'hot toys'.

(Alison Kosik, CNN)

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