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Holiday season fails to perk up apparel sales
Dec '08
The NPD Group Inc released the results of its latest Consumer Spending Indicator study. The holiday retail season is in full swing, and all indications suggest the U.S. consumer is looking for ways to spend less. According to the December survey 81% of consumers say they plan to spend less money than usual.

“One factor of significance is the measure of how consumers feel about their jobs,” noted Marshal Cohen, chief industry analyst for NPD. In April, 41% of respondents said they were either 'very' or 'somewhat' concerned about their jobs. In December, 48% told NPD they are concerned about the security of their jobs. “That 7 point increase is big news and until we see a drop-off in concern, consumers will remain hesitant to spend,” said Cohen.

Also putting a damper on spending, more consumers see their personal circumstances as worse this year than last.

The Consumer Spending Indicator also takes a look at how consumers are reacting to the economic challenges they are facing. NPD has been asking consumers 'which kinds of money-saving, promotional events and/or programs do you think you are more likely to take advantage of now and in the coming months?'

“We continue to see consumers planning a shift in what will motivate their purchasing and clearly the motivation is in the savings,” said Cohen.

When looking at what categories see the most impact of these challenging economic times, there is one category that is consistently among the most challenged. That category is Apparel. Fifty-five percent of consumers say they plan to spend less on Apparel this month. That number is at its lowest point in the history of this study. In April, 45% of consumers told NPD that they planned to spend less on apparel, this month 55% said they plan to spend less on apparel.

What is behind the consistent challenges in the Apparel business? “Among the challenges are the absence of anything new or innovative and the lack of anything the consumer absolutely HAS to have.” stated Cohen. Something else of note: this month, 61% of consumers say they plan to focus more on what people need rather than on what they want in their choice of holiday gifts. “After all, how many of us really need another sweater?” asked Cohen.

The NPD Group Inc

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