January 19, 2001, 12:00 AM

Kurt Salmon Associates' Holiday Outlook: Moderate growth

"Moderate, not buoyant" is the phrase for this year's holiday shopping season, predicts international retailing and consumer products consulting firm Kurt Salmon Associates. Salmon a 3% to 4% increase in consumer holiday spending. Compared with last year's 6+% gains, merchants may be disappointed this holiday season. Additionally, consumers will wait to purchase as they anticipate retailers' markdowns. As in a game of chicken, each side will wait to see who blinks first, Salmon says. "Consumers WILL spend money this holiday," says Phil Kowalczyk, national director of Salmon's merchandising practice. "They're still feeling prosperous, if not quite euphoric, about their stock-market gains."

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