JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – On the eve of Thanksgiving, under the neon lights of retail, is where we found Donna Cart camping out.
“I did the Thanksgiving dinner with the family for 40 years. This is our new tradition,” said Cart.
This year she says she doesn’t even know what she wants to buy, all she does know, is that she wants to shop.
And this holiday season all signs are pointing to the fact that Cart is not alone. According to the 2012 holiday spending survey conducted by the Consumer Federation of America (CFA) and the Credit Union National Association (CUNA), spending is expected to be up between 3 and 4 percent compared to last year.
“This represents the fourth year of gradual improvement in holiday spending plans since a sharp decline in such plans in 2008,” said Bill Hampel, Chief Economist for CUNA.
"People apparently are more prepared to spend because they see a somewhat brighter economic future,” said Stephen Brobeck, CFA Executive Director.
New numbers back that up. A report out Wednesday by Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan found consumer confidence is at its highest level in five years.
Locally, we’re seeing the effects.
For the first time, the St. Johns Town Center will open at midnight on Black Friday this year.
"Our stores hear it from their customers that the confidence is up and that they want to spend money and they're going to be out here,” said Lyndsay Rossman, Director of Marketing for the St. Johns Town Center.
All in the name of a good deal, or in Cart’s case, family fun.
"It's just a big family tradition, and we really do enjoy it,” said Cart.
You can read the 2012 holiday spending survey at http://www.consumerfed.org/news/615
Don't leave the house without the Black Friday shopping guide
, a look at all the area mall hours and special online deals.