Despite strong sales early on, factors including the looming "fiscal cliff" have put a damper on this year's holiday season as consumers struggle with shopping indecision.
So far, retail sales are up just 0.7 percent, which is the lowest growth since the financial crisis in 2008, according to data from MasterCard Advisors SpendingPulse,
Although Michael Brown, a partner at the management consulting firm, A.T. Kearney, said about 95 percent of sales are already in the books, he thinks there are still some strong days ahead that could move the season one way or another. Brown said most of the consensus estimates for holiday season growth are in the range of 2.5 to 3 percent. He added that it will likely be closer to the latter.