Consumers in the U-S are expected to spend 4 point five percent more this holiday season than they did a year ago. The forecast total is less than the 5.1 percent gain posted last year. The National Retail Federation says less money will go toward holiday gifts because of higher energy costs, rising interest rates, slow wage gains and geopolitical threats that continue to dampen spending. Arkansas based Wal-Mart and other retailers had good numbers in the first half of this year but have seen sales struggle more recently. Wal-Mart executives have said gasoline prices are putting a drag on spending.