Cash Call On The Holidays

Posted on November 7, 2010. Filed under: Economic Trends, Public Relations | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

Cover of "Surviving Christmas"

Cover of Surviving Christmas

Twin Cities malls are booked up with tenants, and brimming with good feelings about the holiday shopping season, according to the St. Paul Pioneer Press (Sunday, Nov. 7).

Psstt…Don’t Tell The Pickpockets!

USAA, in a very cleverly conceived press release, reports that the new normal still holds true for this holiday season.  Ninety percent of the public plans to use cash when shopping for holiday items, according to USAA’s second annual holiday spending survey. (Let’s hope this news doesn’t get widely circulated among the nation’s pickpockets.)

Cash is the enemy of the plastic industry, of course: and indeed credit card issuers will be feeling the pinch if shoppers remain committed to leave the plastic at home. Only 41% of shoppers plan to use credit cards for their purchases, the survey says.

“The survey findings indicate that adopting better money habits as a result of the Great Recession isn’t a fad, but more of a long-term trend,” said Joseph Montanaro, a financial planner with USAA.

Consumer Sentiments Measured By Movie Relativity

Still 46% of consumers said that the movie “It’s A Wonderful Life” is how they feel about their plans for holiday spending. But “Surviving Christmas” is the movie that best matches the budgetary concerns of 28% of families. The National Retail Federation projects a 2.9% increase in retail spending this year; that will mean a total holiday cash haul for retailers in the range of $447 billion, according to the NRF forecast. (By comparison, retailers rang up $435.6 billion in holiday sales in 2005, another year when consumers were coming out of a recessionary shell.)

It doesn’t take much for retailers to wax optimistic, of course. But in Minnesota at least, it looks as if the early November giddiness may be justified. For one thing, the state unemployment rate is just 6.6%, well below the national average. The Mall of America is 100% leased for the first time in 18 years, according to the Pioneer Press article.

Then there’s the Minnesota Vikings factor, a heretofore unreported prediction of increased Twin Cities mall traffic on Sundays if the Vikings’ continue to beat themselves out of playoff contention. Nothing like a little festive holiday shopping to ward off those collapsing football team blues after all.

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