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Retailers, consumers and prices

Check Out Line: NRF says Americans plan to get their pumpkin on

September 23, 2010

pumpkin1Check out the spending boost planned by Americans for Halloween.

The National Retail Federation said spending by the 148 million Americans who partake in the “spooky” October holiday is expected to surge almost 18 percent this year as revelers look for any reason not to think about high unemployment and a shaky housing market.

“In recent years, Halloween has provided a welcome break from reality, allowing many Americans a chance to escape from the stress the economy has put on their family and incomes,”  NRF CEO Matthew Shay said in a statement.

“This year, people are expected to embrace Halloween with even more enthusiasm, and will have an entire weekend to celebrate since the holiday falls on a Sunday,” he added. 

Americans will spend an average of $66.28 on costumes, candy and decorations (or a total of $5.8 billion), up from last year’s average of $56.31. However, that is still short of the $66.54 spent in 2008, according to the study conducted by BIGresearch for the NRF. Retailers love Halloween because it comes between the back-to-school and December holidays in luring consumers into stores.

Those selling the latest costumes have reason to be the happiest as four out of 10 people are planning to get dressed up, up from 34 percent last year, according to the survey. And in a related note almost 12 percent will dress their pets too!

A third of those polled will throw or attend a Halloween party, almost three-quarters plan to hand out candy and about half will carve a pumpkin as well as decorate their house or yard, according to the study. In addition, 21 percent will visit a haunted house and 32 percent will take their children trick-or-treating.

Nevertheless, the weak economy still scares some as 30 percent of those polled said their Halloween plans will be affected. “Though Halloween spending will be much more robust than a year ago, consumers will still err on the side of caution,” said BIGresearch vice president Phil Rist said. “Americans are excited about Halloween but are still being frugal and pinching their pennies where they can.”

Also in the basket:

Blockbuster files for bankruptcy; to slash debt

Macy’s to increase temporary hires for holiday season

McDonald’s raises quarterly dividend 11 pct

Rite Aid loss deeper than expected; shares slide

(Reuters photo)

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