American consumers, uneasy about the economy and unimpressed by the merchandise in stores, delivered the bleak holiday shopping season retailers had expected, if not feared, according to one early but influential projection.Granted, the numbers weren't as high as previous year, but how exactly is a 3.6% increase bleak?
Spending between Thanksgiving and Christmas rose just 3.6 percent over last year, the weakest performance in at least four years, according to MasterCard Advisors, a division of the credit card company. By comparison, sales grew 6.6 percent in 2006, and 8 percent in 2005.
“There was not a recipe for a pick up in sales growth,” said Michael McNamara, vice president of research and analysis at MasterCard Advisors, citing higher gas prices, a slowing housing market and a tight credit market.
Meanwhile, they note a huge increase in online sales.
MasterCard found that online spending rose 22.4 percent, a healthy, if not robust, showing, given fears that Web purchases would slow after a decade of impressive growth.So perhaps since people were unimpressed by merchandise and women didn't like the current fashions, maybe that may explain why it was such a bleak showing?
Clothing sales rose a meager 1.4 percent, but there was a stark split between genders. Sales for women’s apparel dropped 2.4 percent. Sales for men’s apparel rose 2.3 percent. Analysts said women complained of dreary fashions.
Another factor could be the nonstop reportage from the New York Times on how bad the economy allegedly is.
UPDATE: Glenn Reynolds links. Thanks! He helpfully notes the bleak status of the NY Times stocks.
UPDATE II: Some drooling nutroots moron takes issue with this item. Too bad. On the upside, at least he didn't suggest someone shoot me.