As retail experts begin to unwrap their holiday forecasts, the shaky economic recovery is delivering some mixed signals.
The National Retail Federation on Tuesday said it expects holiday sales to increase 4.1 percent to $616.9 billion in 2014, up one percentage point from last year in what would be the first gain of more than 4 percent in three years.
But a separate report issued by PwC Tuesday found that projected average household spending is expected to decline to $684 this year, down from $735 in 2013.
Leading the anticipated drive lower is a growing group of consumers the firm labeled "survivalists"—people who earn less than $50,000 annually and represent 67 percent of American shoppers. That's up from 65 percent in 2013, and 63 percent in 2012.