Holiday shopping sales expected to increase as retailers gear up for their busy season

MUSCATINE, Iowa — Ahead of the holiday shopping season, the National Retail Federation expects sales, excluding auto, gas, and restaurant sales, in November and December to increase by 3.6% in the United States.

"You kind of go through a slow time and then everyone is ready to start Christmas shopping and they are ready to shop local and support their community," said Meghan Summitt, a vendor at The Wild Thing in downtown Muscatine, Iowa.

On Sunday, November 13, 2016 Muscatine had a Holiday Open House to kick-off the holiday shopping season. Store owners opened their doors from noon - 4 p.m.

Summitt says her sales are strong – double what they were at this time last year, to which she credits Muscatine investing in its downtown.

The National Retail Federation predicts consumers will spend on average $935 on their holiday shopping.

"I'd say, I am halfway done with my Christmas shopping, so I am super excited about that," said Wendi Durham, a resident of Muscatine who spent Sunday afternoon shopping at various stores for the Holiday Open House.

Stores offered discounts and holiday beverages and snakes for the Holiday Open House.

"It's just more of a festive environment," said Melissa Osborne, owner of Creations by Oz in downtown Muscatine. Osborne says sales at her store, that specializes in items that are all handmade are, "really good" and she expect them to stay that way.