Holiday Sales Off To A Slow Start

Despite opening early on Thanksgiving Day, retailers didn’t have quite the long weekend they were hoping for to kick off the holiday shopping season. The Wall Street Journal reported that holiday shopping dropped for the first time in seven years.

Retail spending over Thanksgiving weekend dropped for the first time in at least seven years, the industry’s main trade group said, as the blitz of deals and earlier opening hours apparently failed to pry more dollars out of the hands of budget-conscious shoppers. …

Sales spiked on Thanksgiving Day and online, but at the expense of business on Black Friday itself, according to the early data. Estimated total spending over Thanksgiving weekend fell to $57.4 billion, down 2.7% from a year ago, according to the National Retail Federation. It said it still expects total holiday sales through year-end to rise by 3.9% from a year ago.

The estimates underscore how retailing has become largely a zero-sum game amid slow overall growth in consumer spending. Some retailers have warned that their margins will suffer as they use promotions to get reluctant consumers to spend more.

The weekend spending declines, which aren’t adjusted for inflation, came despite higher online sales and more traffic into stores. (Read More)

Why would it be so much worse this year than in the past seven years? The economy is just as lousy as it’s been for years, and the ‘greatest recession since the great depression’ is supposedly over. So, why are people spending less money now? Could it be the Obamacare rollout?

Those who could use the website got sticker shock from more expensive plans due to Obamacare’s mandates. And about 5 million Americans have already had their insurance cancelled. They’re just the first wave of rate hikes and/or cancellations coming — the employer mandate hasn’t even kicked in yet. The media haven’t quantified all this yet, but this amount of turmoil and uncertainty over something as fundamental as healthcare is bound to have an impact on holiday shopping. If you’re worried about your job, worried about seeing your hours cut, and worried about what you’ll be paying for healthcare — or you’ve already received President Obama’s expensive “gift” — you have less motivation to spend and less cash to spend too. (Read More)

Thanks to Obamacare people either don’t know if they have any extra money to spend, or they do and are positive they don’t have any extra cash.