I took my family for a trip to the Empire Mall on Saturday. I saw several shoppers leaving stores with carts piled high.

I talked to one lady that said she came to town for a two day shopping spree. She told me that she had all ready spent $800 by mid afternoon on day one.

I asked her what she had purchased. She told me she got some presents for family members, toys for her daughter, beauty items for her mother and lots of other stuff.

I did a little research to see what analysts had to say about this year's spending. This year, the National Retail Federation is predicting holiday spending nationwide to rise 4.1 percent. On average, consumers are expected to spend about $750 each.

Economists point to strong consumer confidence as a major factor contributing to a stronger shopping season. By and large the consumer is very confident right now, and that usually leads to spending.

Without question, the holiday season is critical for retailers, a period when they typically generate 20 percent to 40 percent of the full year's revenue. This year brings an added bonus. With Thanksgiving falling early, the shopping season is stretched to 32 days, giving retailers more valuable time to rack up sales.