Shop Talk

Retailers, consumers and prices

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

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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.

Check Out Line: Young professionals trimming turkey-time travel, spending

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turkey1Check out a survey showing that younger U.S. consumers are trimming travel plans as well as turkeys during Thanksgiving.
    
More young professionals (37 percent) are adjusting their Thanksgiving travel and spending plans than the affluent and general population (both 30 percent), according to a survey by American Express. Young professionals are defined as less than 30 years old, having a college degree and a minimum annual household income of $50,000.
    
The young guns also are pulling back in other areas:
 
* 11 percent of young professionals plan to drive instead of flying, compared to 7 percent of the general population and 6 percent of the affluent, who are defined as having a minimum annual household income of $100,000. 
    
* 8 percent of young pros plan to shorten their stay for the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, compared to the affluent and general population (both 3 percent). 
 
* 7 percent of young pros will use rewards points, miles and special offers to offset the cost, versus 4 percent of the affluent and 3 percent of the general population.
    
Overall, American Express found 30 percent of U.S. consumers plan to adjust this year’s travel plans for Thanksgiving — historically one of the busiest travel days of the year — but only 21 percent expect those expenses to decline from last year.
    
Those who are changing their plans said they will rely more on travel by car, stay for a shorter time and cash in rewards to help pay for holiday trips as they become more selective amid the high unemployment and soft housing market.

However, in a positive sign, sales at U.S. retailers excluding vehicle sales rose for the second straight month in September, raising cautious optimism consumer spending could support the economic recovery.
    
The American Express survey also showed that the young professionals are cutting back for Halloween, when consumers spent $5.8 billion last year according to the National Retail Federation.
    
* 36 percent of young pros are buying less expensive costumes and decorations.  The rate is 16 percent among the affluent group and 15 percent among the general population. 

Check Out Line: Halloween spending not so spooky!

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halloween.jpgCheck Out more people escaping the troubled U.S. economy by turning themselves, their children and their pets into ghosts and goblins.

More than 64 percent of people plan to celebrate Halloween this year, up from nearly 59 percent last year, according to the National Retail Federation’s annual Halloween survey.

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