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MARK AUSTIN THOMAS: Later this morning we'll find out the sales figures for the nation's chain stores. The expectation is the numbers will be up. If so, what does it mean for the coming holiday shopping season? Marketplace's Jeff Tyler takes a look.

JEFF TYLER: Early indications point to positive growth on the retail front.

A report from Redbook Research shows national chain-store sales grew by 1.3 percent in October, and that's despite the fact that Wal-Mart, the world's largest retailer, had an off month.

Anthony Chukumba is a stock analyst with MorningStar.

ANTHONY CHUKUMBA:"That's more based on Wal-Mart-specific issues rather than a harbinger of retail sales to come."

In fact, Chukumba says the retail scene looks good going forward.

CHUKUMBA:"The unemployment rate is low. Gasoline prices, which really kind of hampered people last November post hurricane Katrina, have started to moderate. The economy is still relatively strong. So I think that we are seeing a lot of good tail-winds for a strong November and a strong Christmas season."

The holiday spending season officially kicks off on Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving.

I'm Jeff Tyler for Marketplace.

Follow Jeff Tyler at @JeffMarketplace