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The average United States household will spend about $458 this holiday season, predicts the US Chamber of Commerce. This would be a conservative 5 percent increase over 1989, lower than the 6.2 percent rise in disposable income. This is not cheery news for the nation's retailers, who would move about the same amount of goods off their shelves, after inflation.

Consumer restraint is most evident in the economically battered Northeast, the Chamber reports.

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Stores that offer lower-priced goods stand to gain as consumers look for bargains.

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