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The Hottest Places To Shop, Gifts To Buy This Holiday In MN

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- A highly regarded local shopping survey says we we will be spending more this holiday season than we have in the past 12 years.

The University of St. Thomas survey said the average household will be spending $837 this Christmas season.

That's 8 percent more than last year and up 31 percent, or $200, from 2009 -- at the height of the recession.

The study's authors say the increase reflects a growing sense of optimism amongst consumers but the study also charts who will be the big retail winners and losers this year.

Downtown Minneapolis is actually one of the losers this holiday season. This year, downtown Minneapolis fell from 6th to 11th on the list of places shoppers planned to visit at least once for their holiday shopping.

While downtown Minneapolis fell to 11th, downtown St. Paul stayed the same as last year when it comes to places shoppers planned to visit and spend money -- and that is dead last.

The big winners in terms of where Twin Cities shoppers planned to spend their holiday dollars? The Mall of America was No. 1 for the second year in a row. The study's author said MOA succeeds because of its ever-growing selection of stores.

"It was just announced that Hockey USA is coming to the mall and what a better place, as far as Minnesota and the Mall of America," said Professor David Brennan, of the University of St. Thomas.

Coming in second for the second year in a row is Rosedale Mall.

"The reason Rosedale does so well is location, location, location. It is the most centrally located of all of the shopping centers in the Twin Cities," Brennan said.

Internet sales continue to grow with shoppers planning to spend 34 percent of their holiday budget online, up from 30 percent in 2012 and just 7 percent back in 2002.

For a busy mom like Katy Haff, online shopping can save time and money.

"I probably do as much as I can online where I can leisurely browse while the kids are sleeping," she said.

Some shoppers we talked with say the study's estimate of spending $837 this holiday season sounds about right.

"I suppose with four kids and one big gift you probably get close to that unfortunately," Haff said.

As for what people will be buying, the list has some differences but is pretty much the same as last year, with gift certificates coming in first as the most popular gift. That's followed by clothing, cash, books and toys.

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