ST. CLOUD - As our economy continues to limp, a new economic forecast predicts what you'd probably expect - holiday shopping sales will lag behind past years.

National retail analyst Shoppertrak cites uncertain economic conditions as well as high unemployment and gas prices as factors that will limit the amount of money holiday shoppers will spend.

Statistics are showing consumers are far more likely to spend money only on the essentials, seek bargains and forgo what they feel is frivolous.

St. Cloud Area Chamber of Commerce president Teresa Bohnen says St. Cloud area businesses will likely feel this impact when it comes to seasonal hiring.

However, Bohnen says the St. Cloud area has long been a shopping hub for central Minnesota, and will likely fare better than other communities.

Bohnen encourages people to support our local economy by doing their holiday shopping in the St. Cloud area.