Retailers hope holiday shoppers ready to trade up - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

Retailers hope holiday shoppers ready to trade up

NEW YORK (AP) -- After two Christmas seasons of pushing socks, pajamas and other basics as gifts, retailers are betting that Americans are ready to give a little more this year.

The flashy sweater is replacing the basic winter coat, jewelry is starting to sparkle again, and the gift card for gasoline is being trumped by the gift card at the mall. Black Friday displays are being loaded with fancier laptops, bigger TVs and deluxe gym sets, though stores acknowledge shoppers will buy only if it's a good deal.

The cautious optimism comes as some Americans are feeling more secure financially and spending a bit more on nonessentials.

Still, there are nearly 15 million unemployed, and concerns about job security still cloud confidence. Spending is picking up but has not returned to pre-recession levels.

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