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Ho-Ho Woes Continue
-- November 19, 2002

Just as we had expected, the latest reports on consumer spending indicate that mall Santas won't be doing a booming business this year. The Chain Store Sales Index plunged 1.2% for the week ending Nov. 16, down from a 0.5% increase for the prior week. In other words, with just five and a half weeks until Christmas, sales are slowing.

Of course, one week of terrible numbers doesn't make a trend. But it certainly shows that consumers aren't spending as freely as they have been in recent years. After nearly three years of carrying the entire economy, consumers are finally beginning to buckle under the weight. They continue to face job insecurity, high debt levels, a volatile stock market, and terror threats. Now, they face the prospect of war. All of these factors are adding up to a Grinch-like holiday season.

related article: U.S. Retail Sales Soft In November