But shoppers will have to sprint to the finish for retailers to really celebrate a great end-of-year finish.
But this year consumers, buoyed by low unemployment, sky-high stock performances and the expectation that a tax increase will put more money in their pockets, are showing signs that the stepped-up spending has staying power.
“For the first time in about a dozen years we are seeing people in all income categories spending more money this year,” said Craig Johnson, president of Customer Growth Partners, which has raised its holiday forecast to 5.6 percent from 4.3 percent based on research his firm conducts at some 90 malls across the country.
Spending growth rates are on track to be the highest since 2010, according to MasterCard SpendingPulse, which tracked retail spending, capturing cash, check and credit card transactions at both small and large retailers, through Dec. 9, showing that spending is up 3.6 percent during the period.
Investors are feeling bullish as well.
So what are Americans buying?
Shoppers, it turns out, are feathering their nests with anything that gussies up their homes. Home improvement spending is up 11.6 percent — representing the biggest hike in all categories — through early December, according to MasterCard.
“We have seen very strong home improvement spending all year, but there’s been a surge during the holiday season,” Quinlan told The Post. “People are giving new comforters, sheets and sofas or anything that enhances home life.”