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US retailers report weakest holiday sales since 2008

Home - by - December 28, 2012 - 21:00 America/New_York - 8 Comments

FOX News

WASHINGTON –  U.S. holiday retail sales this year were the weakest since 2008, when the nation was in a deep recession. In 2012, the shopping season was disrupted by bad weather and consumers’ rising uncertainty about the economy.

A report that tracks spending on popular holiday goods, the MasterCard Advisors SpendingPulse, said Tuesday that sales in the two months before Christmas increased 0.7 percent, compared with last year. Many analysts had expected holiday sales to grow 3 to 4 percent.

In 2008, sales declined by between 2 percent and 4 percent as the financial crisis that crested that fall dragged the economy into recession. Last year, by contrast, retail sales in November and December rose between 4 percent and 5 percent, according to ShopperTrak, a separate market research firm. A 4 percent increase is considered a healthy season.

Shoppers were buffeted this year by a string of events that made them less likely to spend: Superstorm Sandy and other bad weather, the distraction of the presidential election and grief about the massacre of schoolchildren in Newtown, Connecticut. The numbers also show how Washington’s current budget impasse is trickling down to Main Street and unsettling consumers. If Americans remain reluctant to spend, analysts say, economic growth could falter next year.

In the end, even steep last-minute discounts weren’t enough to get people into stores, said Marshal Cohen, chief research analyst at the market research firm NPD Inc.

“A lot of the Christmas spirit was left behind way back in Black Friday weekend,” Cohen said, referring to the traditional retail rush the day after the Thanksgiving holiday in late November. “We had one reason after another for consumers to say, `I’m going to stick to my list and not go beyond it.”‘


  1. moarkdave

    December 28th, 2012

    Sales increased 0.7% — but what has the inflation rate been?
    In reality, actual sales numbers have gone down when inflation is factored in.

    Thumb up +4

  2. J Frank Parnell

    December 28th, 2012

    Not for guns. Anybody wondering why?

    Thumb up +5

  3. TacobellgivesmeDiareiah

    December 29th, 2012

    And the beat goes on. Business as usual in Potomacland.

    Thumb up +2

  4. Mary Jane Anklestraps

    December 29th, 2012

    Ah yeah, Sandy and the massacre are also the reasons unemployment is so high, too.

    Thumb up +3

  5. Stranded in Sonoma

    December 29th, 2012

    You saw that too, MJA? I can’t believe they threw that in there. This entire weak holiday spending fiasco can be summed up in two words:

    0bama re-election.

    I’ll bet if Romney had been elected, they would have been talking about at least a 2% increase. Just because of the positive effect of electing someone intelligent in fiscal matters.

    Thumb up +2

  6. jobe

    December 29th, 2012

    Hey, The private sector is doing fine !!! SCUMBAG!

    Thumb up 0

  7. Twinkie

    December 29th, 2012

    Mainstream Media will strain to publish a thousand excuses for any and all bad economic news. What little economic news we get from now on, that is.

    Thumb up 0

  8. Bob M.

    December 29th, 2012

    GUN sales are quite brisk though! :oops:

    Thumb up 0