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Retail Forward’s Index of Future Spending suggests an improvement in consumer spending during the December holiday-shopping month period.

“The key to the December improvement is stronger assessments of job security across all income segments, which is boosting consumers’ ability and willingness to spend,” said Steve Spiwak, an economist with Retail Forward. “But consumers are also telling us that the persisting uncertainty surrounding energy prices and war are restraining their holiday shopping plans.”

Ironically, according to the study, “up-market households” seem to be feeling somewhat less optimistic than “middle market” and “down market” households. And 35 percent of all shoppers in November said they plan to spend less on holiday gifts compared with last holiday

ShopperScapeTM results show that some consumers exerted heightened caution about holiday spending plans just prior to “Black Friday”, as they reflected on the possible impact of recent events such as the election results, gas prices and the Iraq war. As a result, this holiday will likely be a promotional one as retailers turn to discounts to lure the more reluctant shoppers into stores.
KC's View:
Something that Wal-Mart found out the hard way.