The State of Christmas 2008

  • November 10, 2008
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After one of the worst stock market collapses since the Great Depression will Christmas 2008 retail sales collapse as well? This is the question that as been on my mind during the past week. With economic uneasiness combined with the presidential elections the last thing on my mind is what I want for Christmas or what presents I’m going to give away.

It’s not just me feeling this. According to a recent Forbes.com article consumers aren’t just cutting back on spending they’re staying out of stores altogether. “According to the ICSC-Goldman Sachs index, retailers had their weakest October performance since the index’s inception in 1969. Sales fell 1.0% compared with a 1.0% gain in September. Of the 16 retailers reporting results on Thursday, Thomson Reuters said 60.0% missed expectations and only 33.0% beat (http://www.forbes.com/equities/2008/11/06/retail-october-closer-markets-equity-cx_mp_1106markets41.html).” I recently spoke to my immediate family regarding gift giving this holiday season and we all agreed that we wished to cut back. After seeing house values decline across the country, portfolio values dropping by almost 50%, witnessing a historic presidential election, gift giving seems trivial. For the past several years giving presents seems more like a dollar for dollar exchange of goods rather than real gift giving defined by giving something and not expecting anything in return. The most meaningful thing in my family has always been getting together, enjoying each others company over breakfast, and after breakfast visiting the relatives for the extended family Christmas party.

This year I can’t name one thing I want or need. I believe Americans will start saving once again, living within their means. Retailers could be in a lot of trouble this Christmas.

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