TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) -- Florida's storekeepers are expecting a bountiful holiday shopping season.
The Florida Retail Federation on Thursday predicted a 5.2 percent increase in sales for November and December compared to the same period last year.
That translates to $58 billion in consumer spending, or a $3 billion increase over the two-month holiday season in 2011. Retailers also expect to hire 42,000 holiday season workers.
The federation basis its prediction in part on U.S. Department of Commerce figures that show the American economy is growing faster than had been expected.
They also note Internet and other electronic sales are at an all-time high and there's a pent-up demand for discretionary items and self-gifts.
An early Thanksgiving this year also means two extra shopping days compared to last year.