Published: Nov 16, 2011 12:04 AM EST

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) - Florida retailers are predicting a robust holiday shopping season.
    
The Florida Retail Federation on Tuesday estimated sales will increase from 3 percent to 3.5 percent over the same period last year. That's slightly better than the 2.8 percent national forecast. The federation also expects Florida retailers to add about 35,000 jobs in November and December.
    
Rick McAllister, the federation's president, said sales have been trending up for the past two years. He said that's a sign Florida is returning to a normal growth cycle, and it's made retailers more confident in their hiring.
    
McAllister said customers also can expect more bargains as stores use discounting to keep merchandise moving off their shelves.

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