EL PASO — A researcher at New Mexico State University is predicting a strong holiday shopping season for New Mexico after different economic conditions this year compared to last.
Bruce Huhmann is forecasting a 4.5 percent increase in retail shopping compared to 2011.
"We are seeing a lot of positive trends with the U.S. economy being a lot stronger especially in the consumer sections than it's been since 2007," Huhmann said.
He also said there is strong consumer confidence with the economy adding more jobs and the housing market stabilizing.
"Everyone's jobs are getting back and everyone is getting better," said a shopper at a West El Paso Target.
The year is also the longest shopping season with 32 days from Black Friday to Christmas Eve.
Huhmann said a strong Black Friday weekend is extremely important to retailers.
"That weekend alone, Friday, Saturday and Sunday is ten percent of retail sales for the whole year so it's a huge deal," Huhmann said.
Huhmann added the holiday shopping season can be up to 40 percent of retailer's annual sales.
This year, stores like Walmart and Sears will be open extended hours on Thanksgiving Day giving shoppers extra time to search for deals.
Huhmann expects the increased spending to continue as the economy appears to be on an upswing.
Nationally, Huhmann predicts a 5 percent increase.