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Holiday sales may not be as good as some hoped this holiday season, but don't blame the threat of terrorism, analysts say.

The Department of Homeland Security raised the terrorism threat level to high, or orange, from elevated, or yellow, on Sunday. That may be something for merchants and consumers to worry about, but other concerns are more pressing for shoppers, analysts say.

"I'm willing to guarantee that

the raised threat level will have no effect whatsoever," said Kurt Barnard, president of Retail Forecasting, a consulting firm. "People actually resent being told what to do or not to do by terrorists."

Regardless of how consumers react in the next several days before Christmas, many retailers were already facing potentially disappointing holiday sales. High expectations, continued weakness in the job market and the prevalence of gift cards, which shift recorded sales outside the holiday season, all appear to be

weighing on many retailers' results. Although sales are likely to top last year, which was one of the slowest holiday periods in years, many analysts are worried that they won't meet projections.

On Monday,

Target

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and

Wal-Mart

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each

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said that their sales are coming in lower than they'd hoped. Target's December sales are below its plan, while Wal-Mart's are coming in at the low end of its range.

Best Buy

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has also

said that its December sales are coming in below its goal.

Best Buy said it expected a shopping surge in the second half of the month might help it overcome its disappointing sales. Other retailers were likely hoping for the same thing.

About 40% of holiday sales come in the week before Christmas, said Jay McIntosh, a retail analysts at Ernst & Young. That means that a lot of consumers likely still have a lot of shopping left to do.

Retailers may worry that they may miss out on some of those sales due to the threat. But shoppers are likely to be more concerned about getting their shopping done by Christmas than a vague terrorist alert, said McIntosh.

"My guess is that people are getting a little bit accustomed to (the alerts)," he said. "Americans love to shop. They won't let a little thing like that stop them."

Indeed, while consumer spending dipped immediately after the Sept. 11 attacks, it picked back up soon thereafter. And there's little data to suggest that shoppers will curtail their spending due to just a threat, as opposed to an actual attack, analysts say.

But this particular terror alert does come at a bad time.

About one-third of Americans still have Christmas shopping left to do, said Britt Beemer, the chairman of America's Research Group, which regularly surveys American consumers. Of those consumers, about 55% said they wouldn't finish their shopping until Christmas Eve, he said.

The heightened terror alert could encourage those consumers to shop online, buy gift cards or cut short their shopping plans -- but that really depends on the media, Beemer said.

"My guess is that if the media doesn't hype the terror alert, it won't have much impact," he said.