Holiday Luxury Spending Tumbles
The numbers are in from Christmas 2008 and bleak doesn't even begin to cover it. The Wall Street Journal reports that total retail sales, excluding automobiles, fell over the year-earlier period by 5.5% in November and 8% in December through Christmas Eve, according to MasterCard Inc.'s SpendingPulse unit. If you take out gasoline sales the overall percentages work out to a 2.5% drop in November and a 4% decline in December (the drop in gas prices contributed to overall lower sales).
The luxury market was the worst hit with sales falling over 21%; add in jewelry sales and that number goes up to 34.5% The grim numbers have forced retailers to increase their savings offers moving up the typical January clearance sales to huge post-Chrstmas sales this weekend. It doesn't seem to have worked too well from what I saw out there today though. Part of the reason may be that this holiday season shoppers spent less on gift cards as presents so there is less of an immediate incentive for people to rush back into the stores.