By Karen Axelton

It’s that time of year – time for retailers to get ready for holiday shopping. Will the outlook be better or worse this year than last?

The biggest survey on the topic is from the National Retail Federation, which predicts an increase of 2.3 percent over last year.

But the Washington Post kindly rounded up 6 other top outlook/predictions as well. Here’s the rundown: While the International Council of Shopping Centers, Kantar Retail, Deloitte and BDO USA all predict increases ranging from 1.95 percent to 3.5 percent over last year, Nielsen says sales will be flat; Accenture says 83 percent of shoppers will spend the same or less and America’s Research Group is the biggest downer of the gang, with 43 percent of shoppers planning to spend less. (Bah, humbug!)

What’s a retailer to think? Well, this is unscientific, but speaking as a shopper, I know that planning to cut your holiday spending budget and actually following through on it are two different things…kind of like vowing to start your diet on Monday.

If your company can offer tempting enough products, good enough deals and items that customers can’t resist, your holiday retail outlook should be on the sunny side of the spectrum.

Image by Flickr user Steven Depolo