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“I think a lot of that is that customers are upbeat and positive. Stores are using every second they can to grasp a hold of that spirit this season.”

Linda McIntosh, a spokeswoman for the upscale Somerset Collection in Troy, Mich., described the holiday shopping as “amazing.”

“It’s the mindset this season,” she said. “People seem to be enjoying shopping; there seems to be a sense of celebration for the season again. I don’t think it’s the economy. I think people have just made up their minds that they are going to enjoy it this year.”

More shoppers, she said of the optimism trend, are purchasing for themselves as well as buying holiday gifts. Mall restaurants also are fuller with holiday business lunches, and more companies are purchasing corporate gifts and gift cards for employees, she said, noting that one business owner popped in to snag three boxes of Apple iPads for his staff.

Retailers, she said, also have stepped up customer service to make the bustle of holiday shopping more pleasant.

“They are offering gift wrapping, bottled water, chocolates to customers waiting in lines,” she said. “Stores really bought well this year, too. No one is understocked, and the classics are back. People are looking for that cashmere sweater, great leather bags, investment pieces you can build a wardrobe on. It’s been magnificent.”