Cheer up, retailers! Holiday sales will be up after all

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas won't be a total disaster for retailers after all. Just as unemployment numbers appear to be turning, and the economy is showing a pulse, holiday sales forecasts are turning more positive than even a month ago.

The International Council of Shopping Centers just went out on a limb and forecast that this year's holiday sales will be higher than last year's. Only a week ago, forecasts were calling for a flat holiday, and in August, shoppers were looking like Scrooge.