WASHINGTON DC: High fuel costs, rising interest rates and cooling house prices are expected to apply the brakes to spending by US shoppers during this year's holiday season.

The National Retail Federation estimates holiday sales - the weeks from Thanksgiving at the end of November through Christmas - will increase by 5% this year, less than the 6.1% increase in 2005, topping out at around $457.4 billion (€369.3bn; £248.6bn).

NRF chief economist Rosalind Wells, nevertheless, remains upbeat: "Consumers have faced a number of economic challenges this year and have taken them in stride. Although sales will not be as robust as last year, retailers can still expect above-average holiday sales growth."

According to the International Council of Shopping Centers-UBS consumers have remained resilient throughout the year, although stores are experiencing a slight slowdown that started this summer.

From January through June, retailers averaged an almost 4.1% gain in same-store sales, which are considered the best indicator of a retailer's health.

Data sourced from latimes.com; additional content by WARC staff