Shop Talk

Retailers, consumers and prices

Survey: Most consumers plan to spend less this holiday season


shopping-bagRetailers, listen up. A survey from Discover shows that more consumers believe economic conditions are still getting worse.
Discover’s U.S. Spending Monitor for October fell 3.2 points to 85.8 (that’s out of 100, which is where the index started in May 2007).
Forty-six percent felt economic conditions were getting worse. That’s up 3 points from September and the first time the survey has seen an increase since July.

Slightly more women (58 percent) than men (53 percent) rated the economy as poor. Overall, 56 percent called the economy poor, up from 52 percent in September.
“The Monitor has always shown that women tend to be less optimistic than men about the economy and their finances,” said Julie Loeger, senior vice president of brand and product management for Discover.  “But the record jump in the number of women rating the economy as poor and the pessimism over the current state of their finances may indicate a weak holiday shopping season ahead.”

The Discover U.S. Spending Monitor is based on interviews with 8,200 U.S. adults conducted thoughout October.

Nearly 63 percent of 5,000 consumers surveyed toward the end October plan to spend less on holiday gifts this year. That’s in line with last year’s projections, and we all know how the winter of 2008 turned out.

30 minutes with Wal-Mart’s CFO


schoeweAfter Wal-Mart (which is now calling itself Walmart) reported quarterly results, the media was given about half an hour to ask its Chief Financial Officer Tom Schoewe (pictured at left) questions.

We asked about its quarterly results, how back-to-school is shaping up (and for that matter, what about Christmas?), how are consumers faring and what about this call for employer mandated health care coverage?

Food stamp ramp-up


STORM-IKE/Family Dollar is seeing more consumers buy food at its stores.  It is also seeing more consumers use food stamps amid the recession. 

It would seem like a winning opportunity for Family Dollar to attract more shoppers with its low prices.  There’s just one hitch - less than half of the company’s stores currently accept food stamps.