Consumers Spend Less on Last Holiday Season

The year-end holiday shopping season proved to be a dismal period for US retailers who experienced slumping sales, prompting them to cut the prices of products in an attempt to persuade people to buy. But despite big discounts, consumers remained wary to spend money on doing their holiday shopping.

US consumers spent less money on the last holiday shopping season as the economy is mired in the deepest recession since 1940’s, according to retailer group on Thursday.

The group said that sales during December and the first week after the New Year were low, despite attempts of business owners to attract consumers to buy their products by offering big discounts on prices.

Another contributing factor for low sales is the bad weather in most of the country’s region as several winter storms prevented people from going outside to do shopping.

Macy’s Department Store, one of the biggest store chains in the country, said its sales slumped to nearly 5 percent.

With the weakening purchasing power of consumers, the store giant announced its plan to close 11 branches nationwide, affecting nearly a thousand employees who will lose their jobs.

Other giant retailers such as JCPenney and Nordstrom reported to experience 6.8 and 8 percent sales decline respectively, which is better compared to the initial forecast.

According to the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC), retail businesses experienced declining sales in November to December holiday shopping, falling 2.2 percent.

The overall year sales in 2008 fell by 1.7 percent, the group added.


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