Consumer confidence is tanking, so retailers plan for slow holiday sales


October 26th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

Santa’s sleigh may be lighter this holiday season. Creighton University economist Ernie Goss says consumers in Iowa and nationwide are continuing to show signs of hesitation about buying, so merchants are beginning to make plans for another slow December.

“Retailers are very guarded on what’s going to happen,” Goss says. “As a result, they’ve been very cautious in terms of expanding their inventories. They’ve pared them back fairly significantly.” Iowa and the Midwest are in better shape than many other states and regions, Goss says, and growth in holiday sales here ought to be higher than elsewhere, too.

“In my judgment, we’re going to see growth from last year of about three to four-percent,” Goss says. “At the national level, it’s going to be about half that, one to two-percent.” With consumer confidence tanking, he says that projection is a far cry from where it would ordinarily be during a healthier economy. “While it’s not as good as we’d like to see, a normal expansion would be in the six to seven-percent range but still, it’s much better than what we saw last year,” Goss says.

(by Matt Kelley/Radio Iowa)