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Press release from Marketwire

U.S. Consumer Confidence Stronger This Holiday Season: BMO Experts Provide Retail Outlook

- While no toy is dominating sales, traditional names such as Monster High and LEGO are going strong. - The popularity of iOS and Android have turned the mobile games category on its head; games using these systems are set for solid growth. - This year has the longest holiday shopping season, with 32 days between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

U.S. Consumer Confidence Stronger This Holiday Season: BMO Experts Provide Retail Outlook15:47 EST Wednesday, November 28, 2012NEW YORK, NEW YORK--(Marketwire - Nov. 28, 2012) - Consumer optimism is up heading into the holiday shopping season, but is mitigated by the potential for tax increases in the new year and the fallout from Hurricane Sandy, according to BMO Capital Markets. BMO Capital Markets experts provide their outlook for the holiday shopping season:Sal Guatieri, Vice President and Senior Economist for BMO Capital MarketsAmerican consumer spending to rise two per cent in the holiday season, similar to last year's rate. The housing market recovery will support demand for household furnishings and appliances. Consumers can expect price discounting, as cost pressures remain in check.Gerrick Johnson, Toy AnalystWhile consumer spending on toys should improve during the holidays compared with earlier in the year, toy sales are still likely to fall two per cent versus last year. New tactics from chain stores include toy reservation systems, aggressive price matching and same-day delivery of online purchases. This helped toy sales early on; but after pulling some sales forward, it appears we are back to a negative year-over-year trend. Hot toy treasure hunts usually help toy sales. However, although Furby, LeapPad 2, Skylanders, and LEGO Friends are popular, there are no signs consumers will be searching high and low for that must-have toy.John D. Morris, Retail Apparel AnalystThe apparel retail sector has momentum, with cotton costs down from record highs last year.The likelihood of a colder winter creates opportunity in sweaters, outerwear and cold-weather accessories.Edward Williams, Entertainment & Leisure AnalystFollowing a prolonged slump, the trend for interactive entertainment is improving as a result of strong software releases, and Nintendo's Wii-U, the first new set top console in six years. Key releases that should spur growth include Activision's Call of Duty: Black Ops II, Microsoft's Halo 4 and Ubisoft's Assassin's Creed III. Mobile continues to emerge, with the popularity of iOS and Android devices turning the category on its head. Dedicated portable game devices will continue to be challenged, while iOS and Android-based games are positioned to show solid growth. About BMO Capital MarketsBMO Capital Markets is a leading, full-service North American financial services provider, with 2,200 employees operating in 29 offices worldwide, including 16 in North America and offering corporate, institutional and government clients access to a complete range of investment and corporate banking products and services. BMO Capital Markets is a member of BMO Financial Group, one of the largest diversified financial services providers in North America with total assets of $542 billion and more than 46,000 employees as at July 31, 2012.FOR FURTHER INFORMATION PLEASE CONTACT: Contact Information: Media Contacts:Martha McInnis, New York212-702-1992martha.mcinnis@bmo.comAlexis Brown, Toronto416-827-3996alexis.brown@bmo.comWebsite: www.bmocm.comTwitter: www.twitter.com/bmocm