U.S. per capita holiday spending seen up 1 pct -NRF

* Consumers plan to spend $688.87 on average

* First rise since 2007

* Average of $393.55 seen spent on family

By Brad Dorfman

CHICAGO, Oct 18 (BestGrowthStock) – U.S. shoppers plan to spend more
during the Christmas holiday season for the first time since a
recession hit three years ago, according to a survey released on

Consumers plan to spend an average of $688.87 in holiday
shopping this year, an increase of 1 percent from 2009,
according to the National Retail Federation, a retail industry
trade group. The survey was conducted by BIGresearch from Oct. 5
through Oct. 12 and polled 8,767 people.

The NRF has forecast total retail sales growth of 2.3
percent for the November-December period this year. Its survey
of spending plans per capita shows consumers are slightly less
concerned about high unemployment and a tepid economic recovery
than a year ago.

Some 61.7 percent said the economy will affect their
spending, down from 65.3 percent a year earlier.

In another sign of improved consumer appetite, fewer
shoppers said that discounts would be a determining factor in
their purchases. Just under 41.8 percent said markdowns would
be an important factor, down from 43.3 percent in 2009.

In a sign that could cut into sales at lower-priced
retailers like Wal-Mart Stores Inc (WMT.N: ), 65.1 percent said
they would buy something at a discounter, down from 70.1 percent
last year.

Consumers are starting to look more closely at customer
service, with 5.3 percent of shoppers saying that would impact
their purchasing, up from 4.4 percent in 2009. The importance
of product quality also rose for 12.7 percent of respondents,
from 11.8 percent a year ago.

Just over 57 percent of people surveyed said they would use
holiday sales to buy something for themselves, up from 52.9
percent in 2009.

This year, consumers plan to spend $393.55 on gifts for
family, $71.45 on gifts for friends, $18.26 on co-workers and
$34.82 for others. Total gift spending is expected to rise 2.1
percent this year, with the remainder of money being used for
decorations, greeting cards and postage, candy, food and
(Reporting by Brad Dorfman; Editing by Phil Berlowitz)

U.S. per capita holiday spending seen up 1 pct -NRF