Holiday boom or holiday bust for retailers?

I went to my local mall at 5:00 AM this morning. No, I have never done this before but some younger family members insisted on going to the sales and I am the only one up at 4:30 AM and was drafted to drive them. It wasn't incredibly busy but the people (mainly women) who were going into the stores in groups of two looked highly determined. I was reading this morning that holiday sales are starting early but retailers fear that consumers a href=""will not buy as much this year:/abr /br /blockquoteExperts predict this could be the worst sales season since the early 1990s as Americans hit by a housing slump and credit crunch make do with fewer holiday /br /Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters data have forecast that retail sales at stores open at least a year could fall 2.2 percent for November compared with 4 percent growth last /br /Excluding expectations for growth at discounter Wal-Mart, the expected decline is a more precipitous 6.6 percent./blockquotebr /br /Me, I plan on saving money and my sanity this year by shopping at a href=""Black Friday at Amazon. /aimg src="" width="1" height="1" border="0" alt="" style="border:none !important; margin:0px !important;" / There is no way I am going near a store again this holiday season, I hope, unless I am drafted. I do plan on spending a bit less this year, but not much. How about you, are you buying fewer gifts this year?