It Could be a Huge Humbug for Retailers

Tons of people plan to spend less on the holidays this year.

With retailers’ eager to make the bottom line between now and Christmas, just what type of pressure are you up against?

There are three big tips you will need before heading to the mall, or shopping online.

#1: Know what you are up against.

Retailers make 20 to 40 percent of their annual sales between now and Christmas.

Their game-plan? Make the best deals on big-ticket items.

Then entice shoppers to buy more.

"If you come in and buy, you know, a big TV, for $500 off, you might then buy an entertainment center. You might buy a DVD player. You might buy some DVDs," explains Ellen Davis, National Retail Federation.

#2: Know your limits.

The Conference Board Consumer Research Center predicts each family will spend $449 on gifts, which is a bit less than last year.

Retailers say they will spend almost twice that, but also believe most people will use cash and debit cards, not credit.

#3: Resist the pressure to go into debt.

"It's almost like a feeding frenzy to have to keep up with everyone else and to show you love them, and that's unfortunate," says Bill Hampel of the Credit Union National Association.

Consumers’ advocates say like children, adults should make a list, and check it twice, to avoid overspending.

New in consumer surveys this year: the poorest families say they plan to spend not just less, but much less, which could drive down retailers profits by one or two percent.

In seven years of Consumer Federation and Credit Union holiday shopping surveys, one thing remains consistent, in November shoppers always say they will spend less than last year.

However, by January, they have actually spent more.

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