SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Nation/World

December 13, 2013

Holiday shopping spree not for everyone

(Continued)

Analysts say that hasn’t boded well for retailers that sell clothing, shoes and holiday items. That’s because Americans are buying more big-ticket items over the holidays.

Government figures show that retail sales were up 0.7 percent in November, the biggest gain in five months. But the increase was led by autos, appliances and electronics.

Auto sales jumped 1.8 percent, furniture purchases rose 1.2 percent and sales at electronics and appliances stores rose 1.1 percent. Meanwhile, sales at department stores and clothing chains were weak.

Americans are leaning toward big purchases for two reasons. They want to take advantage of low interest rates. And since many paid down debt since the recession, they feel more comfortable using credit cards again for such purchases.

But they won’t do that and buy smaller items. “This is still a weak, fragile shopper,” says Craig Johnson, president of Customer Growth Partners, a retail consultancy.

Retailers including Macy’s and Target in recent months have said that shoppers’ focus on big-ticket items has put a damper on sales of discretionary items, and the retail federation says it has hurt holiday sales in particular.

HOLIDAY CONSUMERISM

Black Friday used to be the official kickoff to the buying season, but more than a dozen chains opened on Thanksgiving this year.

That didn’t sit well with some shoppers who viewed it as an encroachment on family time. Some threatened to boycott stores that opened on the holiday, while others decided to forgo shopping altogether.

In a poll of 6,200 shoppers conducted for the retail federation prior to the start of the season, 38 percent didn’t plan to shop during the Thanksgiving weekend, up from 34.8 percent the year before.

Ruth Kleinman, 30, isn’t planning to shop the entire season in part because she’s disheartened by the holiday openings. The New Yorker says the holiday season “has really disintegrated.”

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Nation/World

Local News
  • State sets tax holiday BOSTON -- Shoppers will get a holiday from the state sales tax on Aug. 16 and 17, after state lawmakers finally agreed on a weekend. The tax-free holiday has been an annual event since 2004, with the exception of 2009, when the state raised the sales

    August 1, 2014

  • crab Little green invaders threatening local clam flats IPSWICH -- The green crab is eating our lunch. It's been eating its way through Northeastern shellfish for years, and some local experts are worried that the undersized crustacean, about 31/2 to 4 inches across, has reached critical mass. The creatur

    August 1, 2014 2 Photos

  • Shoppers1 Despite shopping elsewhere, Market Basket customers remain loyal

    SALEM -- Local Market Basket customers can't hold out any longer as the company continues to weigh offers to buy the chain, including one from ousted CEO Arthur T. Demoulas. "I'm very proud of the employees and customers who have been holding out," s

    August 1, 2014 4 Photos 4 Stories

  • 140731_SN_DLE_APARTMENT6 Developer unveils new Peabody Square apartments PEABODY -- It's an indication of what he and his business partners want to do in the city's downtown, Norman Lee said Thursday as he showed off the stylish interiors of 10 brand-new apartments above Congressman John Tierney's office in Peabody Square

    August 1, 2014 10 Photos

  • Scandal raises questions about speaker's powers BOSTON -- The speaker of the state House of Representatives gets far-reaching powers to carve up the budget, control which bills advance, dole out committee chairmanships and reward favored lawmakers with plum office space on Beacon Hill. But the spe

    August 1, 2014