Not Very Merry: Holiday Spending Was Scrooge-Like
Shoppers eying fiscal cliff, storms sat on their wallets
By Liam Carnahan, Newser Staff
Posted Dec 26, 2012 6:45 AM CST
People crowd the mall for holiday shopping ahead of Christmas at Twelve Oaks Mall on Saturday, Dec. 22, 2012, in Novi, Mich.   (AP Photo/Detroit News, Bryan Mitchell)

(Newser) – With Christmas officially in the rearview, the first snapshot of holiday spending is rolling in and the picture isn't too pretty: In the two months leading up to Christmas, sales of popular gift items like electronics and apparel grew only .7%—a measly increase well below analysts' expectation of 3% or 4%, and far worse than the 4% to 5% we saw around the same time last year. In fact, it's the worst year-over-year growth since 2008, when the recession began, reports the AP. Even online shopping was down, posting only 8.4% growth since late October, far lower than the 15% to 17% seen in the 18 months before the holiday.

The reasons for the poor figures are varied: Spending was weak in areas hit by Hurricane Sandy and the recent Midwest blizzard, and shoppers may have been worried about the looming fiscal cliff. The Newtown shootings may also have dampened buyers' zeal. Post-holiday shopping figures are closely watched, as Christmastime buying can account for as much as 40% of annual sales for retailers, and may be an indication of how the coming year will play out and the economy as a whole. "A lot of the Christmas spirit was left behind way back in Black Friday weekend," said one analyst. "We had one reason after another for consumers to say, `I'm going to stick to my list and not go beyond it.'"

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Showing 3 of 135 comments
Dec 30, 2012 12:45 PM CST
i dont like the fact that we have an economy that thrives off of people spending on things they dont need it teaches a bad message of where to find happiness and leaves people unsatisfied with their lives
Dec 30, 2012 12:43 PM CST
i dont think you can base happiness on scrooge-like spending, wasting money on things you dont need wont make you any happier
Dec 26, 2012 11:48 AM CST
Lots of people still struggling financially. It's just not in the news anymore.