The latest figures on US holiday spending

The latest figures on US holiday spending

According to the American National Retail Federation around 141 million (139 million) Americans went shopping on Thanksgiving Day

The number of Americans shopping in stores was high, however the average shopper spending dropped from 2012 USD 423.55 to USD 407.02. This is not only due to the fact that shoppers tighten their Christmas holiday budget, but during the period of low inflation, price tags on typical gifts were stagnating or even falling, particularly prices for clothing, shoes, watches and other apparel were down in October by 0.2 % as against 2012, also prices for toys were down 5.6 % and for small appliances such as toasters 1.6 %.

The Wall Street Journal’s price index for gift items, including the already mentioned goods as well as technology products, books and sporting goods declined 2.5 % in October as against 2012, meaning the most accentuated drop since early 2011 when the global economy was weighing on prices. However the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland’s median consumer price index and based upon figures by the US Labour Department was up 2.5 %., but it is to be noted that the Labour Department applies a different method, if a better TV set costs the same as in 2012, this is counting as a price drop. Exclkud8ing categories where quality adjustments are most prevalent, the gift price index was down 1.6 %. With other words, Americans can spend less buying just as many gifts as in 2012, thus saving money for other uses. The reverse side of the medal: Retailers have little pricing power, and therefore it seems to be tough to drive their earnings higher. This is to the dismay of investors’ expectations for retailers’ profit margins.

www.wsj.com


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