(NBC) - How much money do you plan to spend this gifting season? If it's more than last year, you're not alone.
The National Retail Federation is projecting more jingle at the cash registers this holiday season. According to the NRF, this November and December, holiday retail sales will increase between 4.3 to 4.8 percent over last year.
That translates to as much as $721 billion dollars more. The number excludes cars, gas, and restaurant sales. The NRF says its 2018 forecast is higher than the average annual increase of 3.9 percent over the past five years.
Analysts say strong employment, higher wages, and an overall healthier economy are contributing to more spending.
The NRF looks at consumer credit, disposable personal income and previous monthly retail sales to gauge expectations.
We're still in October, so now might be a good time to plan a budget for all those gifts.
The NRF's holiday forecast includes online and other non-store sales.
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