Holiday Spending Levelstbn0.google.com
Added 2550 days ago in Business
nytimes.com — American consumers, uneasy about the economy and unimpressed by the merchandise in stores, delivered the bleak holiday shopping season retailers had expected, if not feared, according to one early but influential projection.

Spending between Thanksgiving and Christmas rose just 3.6 percent over last year, the weakest performance in at least four years, according to MasterCard Advisors, a division of the credit card company. By comparison, sales grew 6.6 percent in 2006, and 8 percent in 2005.

"There was not a recipe for a pick up in sales growth," said Michael McNamara, vice president of research and analysis at MasterCard Advisors, citing higher gas prices, a slowing housing market and a tight credit market.

Strong demand at the start of the season for a handful of must-have electronics, like digital frames and portable GPS navigation systems trailed off in December. And robust sales of luxury products could not make up for sluggish sales of jewelry and women's clothing.

What did eventually sell was generally marked down - once, if not twice - which could hurt retailers' profits in the final three months of year. "Stores are buying those sales at a cost," said Sherif Mityas, a partner at the consulting firm A.T. Kearney, who specializes in retailing.

MasterCard's SpendingPulse data, scheduled to be released Wednesday, cover the 32-day period between Nov. 23 and Dec. 24. It is based on purchases made by more than 300 million MasterCard debit and credit card users and broader estimates of spending with cash and checks.

Posted by dsigmann
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How did you spend this holiday season?
More than last year
15%
Same as last year
20%
Less than last year
65%
This is not a scientific survey, click here to learn more. Results may not total 100% due to rounding and voting descrepencies.
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Posted 2549 days ago
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more...on credit cards
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