Retailers are expecting a solid holiday shopping season in the Bay State.

The Retailers Association of Massachusetts is forecasting a 3.5% increase in sales over the holiday period compared to a year ago. The prediction, based on a survey of the group's 3,500 members, is slightly below a national forecast of 3.9% growth in holiday sales.

Association President Jon Hurst said Massachusetts retailers are cautiously optimistic based on the strongest consumer confidence levels since 2007.

But Hurst noted that the calender offers six fewer shopping says between Thanksgiving and Christmas that a year ago, when retail sales showed a 2.8% increase over the previous year.

He said retailers [plan to offer aggressive promotions and discounts from Black Friday right through Christmas Eve.

[Associated Press]