CHICAGO—The holidays can be stressful for many people, but retailers have the added pressure of knowing that how well they compete for shoppers’ dollars in the next few weeks can make or break their year. And this holiday season, experts anticipate that shoppers will spend $981 to $986 billion, a roughly 4.5% increase over last year’s total.

JLL has just published its 2014 Holiday Sentiment Report, which includes feedback from about 800 largely national or global retailers in the shopping centers it manages across the US, and the data show that even though retailers are optimistic, many also believe the competition will be fierce and getting their fair share will require tremendous effort.

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