Shop Talk

Retailers, consumers and prices

Check Out Line: A little less luck of the Irish

March 3, 2009

USACheck out leprechauns and the rest of us spending less green this year.  According to the National Retail Federation‘s St. Patrick’s Day Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey, people celebrating the March 17 holiday plan to spend an average of $32.80, down from an average of $35.04 in 2008.  Still, that spending on decorations, food, drinks and clothing is expected to total $3.29 billion.
    
Who will spend the most?  According to the report, the 25-34 year-old crowd is expected to spend an average $39.42 per person.  Those 18-24 years of age are cutting back by nearly 15 percent, expecting to spend $36.05 each this year, down from $42.20 last year.

“Increased concern about the economy among young adults has forced many of them to pull back on discretionary spending,” said NRF President and CEO Tracy Mullin.

Still, many plan to party.  More than 66 percent of those 18-24 said they plan to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, compared with just 49.1 percent of the 25-34 crowd.

What’s the most popular way to celebrate?  Wearing a bit o’ green.  Nearly 82 percent of those surveyed said they would don the color.  Maybe some of those revelers will be out in Chicago, where the river will be dyed green.  Really.  Watch it here.
 
The survey of 8,426 consumers 18 and older was conducted by BIGresearch from Feb. 3-10 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 1 percent. 
 
Also in the basket:
 
U.S. chain store sales fell last week
 
February auto sales seen hovering at 27-year lows
 
Walgreen’s February same-store sales fall 1.9 percent

(Reuters photo of the Chicago River being dyed in 2007)

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