Holiday shopping season gloomy for retailers - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Holiday shopping season gloomy for retailers

October 17, 2007

Albany--Christmas is about two months away, and already, economists are predicting gloomy sales for retailers.  The National Retail Federation says this holiday season will have the slowest growth since 2002.

With the holiday shopping season right around the corner, some south Georgians are dreading it. "Pretty much," says shopper, Jennifer Powell.

Many shoppers, like Powell, plan to spend a lot less this Christmas. "I'm just going to do a little here and a little there," she says.

And with ten grandkids to shop for, toys won't be her list.  "It's mostly clothes or shoes," she says.

Economists partly blame toys made in China for a less than stellar shopping season for retailers. "Consumers are concerned about the defects of the toys and the recalls that are happening across the United States," says economist, Aaron Johnson.

And with a dragging housing market, many shoppers simply can't afford to spend the green. "If you're not making your mortgage payments, you're going to be less likely to spend on goods and retail," says Johnson.

Already, Wal-mart has slashed prices by as much as fifty percent. Other retailers are doing the same.  "They're going to offer various sales and discounts to get people into the stores," says Johnson.

And for Powell and many other shoppers, every little savings counts. "When the sales come in, I'll try to jump in there where I can," says Powell.

According to the National Retail Federation, the average shopper plans to spend about $816.69 this holiday season with gift cards being the most sought after item.

While the traditional kickoff to the holiday season is Black Friday, the NRF found that most people won't wait to begin bargain hunting. This year, 40.3 percent of shoppers will begin holiday shopping before Halloween.

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