Shop Talk

Retailers, consumers and prices

Check Out Line: Train wreck Christmas?

September 17, 2009

santaCheck out a rather glum outlook for the Christmas shopping season.

Last year, holiday sales notched their worst performance in nearly four decades.

This year, they could be a “train wreck” says Britt Beemer, founder and CEO of America’s Research Group.

According to the latest Consumer Mind Reader survey released by America’s Research Group and UBS, 81 percent of respondents said they are pressured by family debts, forcing many to shop less and spend less. 

 “The data foretells a very scary Christmas shopping season with consumers radically cutting back at a time when retailers need shoppers to shore up sagging retail sales,” Beemer said. 

“I am fearful Christmas will be a retail train-wreck this year.”

Earlier this week, Beemer told Reuters that U.S. consumers are still cautious about eating at restaurants and are not planning to loosen the purse strings for holiday spending this year despite signs the economy is improving.

“Everybody wants the recession to be over, but nobody has told the consumer,” Beemer told Reuters.

According to the survey released on Thursday, more than three quarters of families are trying to cut back on how much they are spending.  The average amount that American consumers are cutting out of their monthly spending is $191.11, the highest figure ever recorded for spending cuts in 13 years of ARG Consumer Mind Reader surveys.

Of consumers cutting back, 60.1 percent said they have accepted this new, lower spending level — even when the economic situation improves and they could afford to spend more. 

Also in the basket:

New normal? U.S. consumers coming back cautiously

Pier 1 posts smaller-than-expected loss on cost cuts

Dan Brown novel breaks one-day sales records

Gowns go with the flow on New York fashion runways

Fashion Houses Forced to Test Radical Ideas (WSJ)

(Photo: Reuters)


It may not be so good. I guess consumers will buy practical items as gifts, rather than fanciful but useless items.


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