DENVER (AP) – Holiday sales in Colorado are forecast to increase by 2.9 percent over last year, a number that is slightly better than the national forecast.

The National Retail Federation estimates that 152 million people nationwide will shop in person or online this weekend, a 10.1 percent increase over last year. Nationwide, the federation estimates overall holiday sales will increase 2.8 percent to $465 billion. Last holiday season, sales jumped 5.2 percent from 2009.

In Colorado, The Denver Post reports the state is expected to fare slightly better than the rest of the nation, partly because of a lower statewide unemployment rate of 8.1 percent, compared with 9 percent nationwide.

Retailers in the metro area reported a modest rush early Friday.

“You are going to see sales lasting a lot longer and throughout the shopping season,” said Shannon Butler, director of government affairs at the Colorado Retail Council. “Consumers have come to expect it.”

Still the deals this weekend were too tough to resist for shoppers like the mother-daughter team of Shannon Craig of LaPorte and Robyn Vanosdall of Fort Collins.

“If we’re here, we’re encouraging the stupidness,” said Craig as she and her mother lined up at the Outlets at Loveland on Thursday. “But the prices are so cheap. Where else can you get a laptop for $179 and boots for $15?”

In Durango, businesses on Main Avenue reported a steady and encouraging numbers of shoppers throughout the day Friday. Cathy Wakeman, owner of Animas Trading Co., said her store saw above-normal sales during the week, as well as on Black Friday despite nothing close to the sales of the large retail chains.

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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