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Retailers Expect Weak Spending
 

Christmas might be scarier than Halloween this year, retailers say.
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For retailers, Christmas might be scarier than Halloween this year, with consumers planning to trick or treat in larger numbers but cut down on holiday gifts.

In a survey of more than 8,000 consumers, nearly 65 percent said they plan to celebrate Halloween this year, up almost six percent from last year, according to the National Retail Federation.

Much of that increase can attributed to the holiday falling on a Friday, while the uncertain economy may also drive more Americans to look for a carefree celebration.

"We saw this post- 9/11 too," said Scott Krugman, NRF spokesperson.

Meanwhile, overall sales growth for the holidays is expected to drop to half of the 10-year industry average as more consumers look for discounts. At 1.9 percent, this year's predicted increase in holiday spending is at a six-year low.

For the first time, consumers plan to invest less money on gifts for family members, while 70 percent plan to shop at discount stores, a separate survey found. More consumers also said they would choose their shopping destination based on good deals or sales.

"The retailers who have the advantage right now are places like discounters, dollar stores and warehouse clubs," Krugman said. "I think that department stores may see themselves a little bit more challenged."

Krugman said inflation had little to no impact on the predicted average spending increase, which is estimated to rise by $15 to $832 this year.

"If you look at the level of discounting that happens in our industry, and look at the fact that on the electronic side there is actually price deflation, you'll see that inflation has no effect whatsoever on the Halloween and holiday spending," he said.

Last updated: Oct 17, 2008




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