It was a bleak Christmas and promises to be a less than prosperous New Year for retailers with consumers tightening their belts and spending less, reports the Wall Street Journal. Retail sales dropped 5.5% in November and 8% in December, compared with the same months last year. Luxury goods, usually recession proof, were hardest hit, with sales plunging 34.5%.
The bad news was even worse than forecast. Among the hardest hit were electronics, down 27%, and women's apparel, down 23%. The grim sales are expected to trigger another parade of stores into bankruptcy court. "This will go down as one of the worst holiday sales seasons on record," said a director at a consulting firm. "Retailers went from 'ho-ho' to 'uh-oh' to 'oh, no.'"