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A season to save in Schenectady County

But can that kind of optimism help the shops in downtown Schenectady and Schenectady County weather the turbulent economic climate?

"It's not that people aren't going to go out and spend money on holiday gifts. They absolutely are going to do that, but half the people Upstate say, 'My intent is to spend less," said Donald Levy, director of the Siena Research Institute.

The study showed that there is a 'less Grinch-like' approach to holiday shopping among Upstate consumers as opposed to Downstate " people aren't shortening their holiday lists this year " but people aren't expected to spend as much on each recipient, said Levy.

"Having said all that, we don't want to forget that last year was not a robust retailing season," said Levy. "At least in terms of peoples' intent, they're telling us that they're going to spend less for fewer people this year than last."

On a similar note, last year, according to the study, 12 percent of shoppers had a holiday shopping budget of $300. This year that number has risen to 19 percent. The number of people who plan on spending around $1,000 or more this year has dropped.

"More people are in the 'spend in the lowest category,' few people are in the 'spend in the highest category,'" said Levy.

Retailers said they are prepared to fight the good fight and lure customers into their shops with a variety events and incentives.

"I think individual stores will be offering various holiday specials," said Salango. "We're doing a special holiday open house called Holidays and Melodies in conjunction with Proctors. We'll have events where stores will be open and offering specials from 4-9 p.m., so it's an opportunity for people to come down and check out the businesses and get involved with downtown for the holiday season in different ways."

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