Retail Panic: Will This Be The Worst Holiday Season Ever?

Analysts aren’t pleased with Lowe’s and Target’s latest news.

Lowe’s issued a warning about their earnings and Target’s September sales numbers are going to be super crappy—time to panic!

From Reuters:

…as skittish consumers rein in spending, fueling concerns that the holiday shopping season could be the weakest in years.

A drop to a two-year low in the Conference Board’s consumer confidence index added to the jitters, helping send the Standard & Poor’s Retail Index <.RLX> down almost 3 percent.

“The American consumer has been taken through a very rough period. They are cautious; they are careful; they are fearful; and they are acting accordingly,” said Kurt Barnard, president of Barnard’s Retail Consulting Group. “There’s very little that can take place between now and December 31 that is going to materially change that.”

Oh, no! Not Target and Lowe’s…. the two stores everyone loves! If people aren’t shopping there, we must be broke. Santa is not coming this year, kids. Feel free to be as naughty as you like.

So are you consumers broke? Or saving for the holidays? Or what?

Target, Lowe’s — more signs of rattled consumers? [Reuters]
(Photo:amyadoyzie)

Comments

Edit Your Comment

  1. flairness says:

    Broke.

  2. AlisonAshleigh says:

    Personally, I’m broke as fuck.

  3. Streyeder says:

    Broke!

    Welcome to life directly after college, moving 17 hours away, living near D.C., and paying off both credit card and student loans. WOOHOO!!!

    Any rich old people looking for benefacotrs? I can be a great son/brother/friend! lol

  4. JanetCarol says:

    I agree with the first comment. I’m broke as fuck as well.
    We are home making wine, pies, other baked goodies, blankets and such for people for Christmas. There are only a few people I will purchase gifts for this year.

  5. sassypizzazz says:

    I’m not quite broke, but I am looking for great “homemade” gift ideas. I’ll go Christmas shopping with my mom to get my holiday fix.

  6. DeeJayQueue says:

    Broke as a joke.

  7. bohemian says:

    Broke.
    Gas, electricity, health care and groceries.
    All have gone up considerably. Even with all sorts of creative scrimping and belt tightening those higher expenses are sucking all of our funds that used to go to optional fun stuff.

    While the free market powers that be are getting drunk on the idea of being able to gouge everyone to death on basics they ignored the effect it would cause elsewhere.

  8. Jaysyn was banned for: http://consumerist.com/5032912/the-subprime-meltdown-will-be-nothing-compared-to-the-prime-meltdown#c7042646 says:

    Yeah, it’s going to be a tight x-mas around my place as well this year.

  9. Starfury says:

    This year we will be spending less on Christmas presents….and this time I mean it!

    I am going to give my wife a cash budget..when the cash is gone she’s done buying gifts. With gas prices up and other costs (food/electricity) up too we have less free money to spend on gifts. I figure we spend more than enough during the rest of the year.

    Also, the end of the year sucks for our finances.
    1. Property taxes are due
    2. Car Insurance is due. AAA…you have to pay a year in advance; if you don’t they charge interest .
    3. House Insurance due in Feb.

  10. sassypizzazz says:

    By the way, you can go to blackfridayads.com and sign up to get an email notice when stores “leak” their after-Thanksgiving holiday sales.

  11. timmus says:

    I run a mail order operation from home (mostly books and software) and we’ve had a falloff in orders in August. September so far has been one of the lousiest month I can recall in years… a couple of university contracts and other side work are all saving my ass. I’m curious what’s going on — consumer spending is typically one of the last things to hit the fan.

  12. Squeezer99 says:

    i’ve got more $ right now then i’ve ever had. i just don’t have anything to spend it on, so its staying in an online savings account at 5.05%.

  13. speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

    Not broke, but I’m an IT worker in the corporate office of a large oil industry business. However, my fiance just lost his job as a 3D artist for a residential real estate brokerage. We don’t celebrate Christmas, and our heating bills are not going to be too bad because we live in a Texas apartment, and the car is paid for, and we don’t use credit cards, but it’s going to be tough out there for everyone else. We may yet have to live on our hurricane emergency supply closet. You never know.

  14. DjDynasty says:

    I’m not broke, just there’s nothing exciting about the new sensation across the nation. (Macys)

    And I’m not buying gifts from a big box for those I hate let alone those I like.

  15. RandomHookup says:

    That’s why I encourage people to do their gift giving on Three Kings Day instead. [en.wikipedia.org]

    It’s better symbolism (it’s the 12th day of Christmas, after all) and that’s when Baby Jesus got all his useful gifts like myrrh. And you can shop at the after Christmas sales for a much better deal.

    /I’ve given up Xmas for Lent.

  16. MENDOZA!!!!! says:

    take that, seasonal consumerism!

  17. FullFlava says:

    Not any more or less broke than usual, but I’m still in college so no one expects me to spend a lot at Christmas anyway. In fact, pretty much my whole extended family is low-key on the whole gift-spending thing, I guess it’s just how we were raised.

  18. speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

    @Starfury: Good idea with the cash budget. I would be totally behind you on that if I was your wife. I find it a liberating and empowering exercise to find really nice, decent, presentable gifts with little actual cash outlay.

    Tell her to check out what can be had on eBay in sterling silver jewelry under ten dollars. There are always hundreds of things. I was working temp one Christmas and had to buy a secret Santa gift, and I got a silver bracelet set with garnets for two dollars plus a few more for shipping. I almost got in trouble because they thought I violated the 20 dollar spending limit, heh.

  19. ogremustcrush says:

    I look forward to buying lots of loss leaders on Black Friday. I am the most unprofitable consumer evAr! Oh, and most of my holdiday shopping is for myself, gotta pick up the deals while you can.

  20. starrion says:

    Not broke but acting like I am.

    The cash budget sounds like a great idea.
    We’re not purchasing any new decorations, cards or other things, and we’re cutting our gift budget dramatically.

  21. gorckat says:

    I ain’t got no money so I’m takin’ my broke ass home!

  22. endicottroad says:

    I’m too busy trying to afford the basics to spend much of Christmas this year.
    And the ballyhooed Bush tax cut? A joke. My refund was $7. Woohoo. Dance with glee.

  23. Myron says:

    @RandomHookup: Traveling over Thanksgiving or Christmas, by car or by plane, has been a nightmare for years. That’s why I’ve been trying to get my family to buy into Family Altogether Day, or FAT day. I envision this taking place sometime between Thanksgiving and Christmas. You travel to see family for the holidays but not exactly on a holiday. This approach would also let you take advantage of working the days before Thanksgiving and Christmas when many employers let their workers go home early without burning vacation time.

  24. alice_bunnie says:

    @Starfury:

    The months of September through December are always the most spendy here, too. Property taxes being our largest outlay of the year being due in August and November. It’s also when we take our vacations, usually.

    This year, though, I actually budgeted Christmas into the mix and I have a hefty chunk in savings. I don’t plan on spending all of it on gifts, either. I budget around $100 per person, and actually spend less every year.

  25. Berz says:

    Broke!

    Between Medical bills, car payment, student loan repayment. I’d like to get a home but to make the 10-20% down i think it would take a few years. By the time that happens the market probably wont be as good as a buyers market.

  26. Don’t worry. Us Canucks with our at par US dollars and blistering economy will save our Yankee neighbours. Combine this with the fact that US prices for just about everything are cheaper than Canadian prices, those of you living within a day’s drive of the Canadian border can expect to hear a lot of “hey this is cheap eh?” in your local retail stores. And you’ll definitely see a few of us at car dealerships. Lexus GS430 US-$52,000, Canada $71,000.

  27. technotica says:

    Keep sucking Target and Lowes – all your clearance buys are belong to me.

  28. Broke! Gas, electric, and natural gas have put a strain on our budget but what’s killing me this year was an unexpected ER trip (well, I suppose definitionally they’re unexpected) and every damn thing in my house breaking at once.

    I’m attempting to be very disciplined about Christmas this year. I tend to overspend because I like to give gifts and it’s an important holiday in my family, but I’m trying to be very good!

    @RandomHookup: “That’s why I encourage people to do their gift giving on Three Kings Day instead.”

    Your random theological trivia for the day: Epiphany (or Three Kings’ Day, if you like) is the much older holiday than Christmas, by a couple of centuries. It wasn’t until later that Xmas was split off from Epiphany, and many Christian denominations still do their gifty things on Epiphany. Which is to say, there’s a reason the symbolism is better — that’s where the symbolism started!

    (A masters in liturgy is so rarely useful in everyday life. :P)

  29. Anonymous says:

    to save money in tight times (and to stem excessive consumerism), one of my friends’ families assigns each member to buy a gift for just one other family member. the gift had to be less than $X; most of the time, you could have a ton of fun looking for cheap gifts at garage sales.

    good times (it’s all about the pursuit right?) and you’re saving the environment by reusing someone else’s gift (as long as you dont waste a lot of gas in the process).

  30. SaraAB87 says:

    You gotta love when you see last years christmas toy gifts sitting out for 25 or 50 cents at almost every yard sale you to go..

    Our family is pretty low-key on this holiday stuff, I mean we have the basic stuff, the tree, decorations but none of it is expensive and decorations and wrapping paper are usually dirt cheap after christmas and picking up all those 10-25 cent decorations at yard sales during the summer helps too, plus they are more unique and often better made than junk you currently find in the stores. Once you gather up enough decorations you can keep them in storage bins and label them christmas stuff and re-use them year after year without having to worry about buying more. We have enough of a supply of wrapping paper and christmas cards for several years to come thanks to after-christmas sales, we NEVER buy decorations and supplies before the holidays, only after, thats the way its been since I was a baby too. We won’t be needing supplies this year though, because we have so many.

    Most of the adults in my family don’t even exchange gifts anymore, so my family kind of views christmas as a children’s holiday. We do gather though for the holidays like every other family. We try to choose gifts that are in the child’s interest and appropriate age group and now that the grandchildren are getting older we will probably be letting them select their own gifts this year so that they get exactly what they want instead of something they don’t want that will get tossed aside in a week. This is something thats always been done in my family and the kids usually have a lot of fun shopping for their own gifts.

    Really the 2 kids in my family are rather low-key on gifts too, and typically they can be talked out of things that are considered too expensive for the family to afford within a matter of 5 min simply by showing them a less-expensive, similar item. We are not the type of family that gives the kids an xbox360, playstation 3 and nintendo wii on the same christmas.

  31. sroelofs says:

    Broke. Electricity, taxes, milk, what HASN’T gone up? Oh that’s right. My SALARY! In order to save money, this year I’m planning to give everyone a catalog/magazine clipping of what I would get him or her if I were to win PowerBall! Laughs are all I can afford to give.

  32. Roundonbothends says:

    Not broke, still afloat, and not desirous of taking a break in the old pay-down. A couple of years ago, we all exchanged $100 gift cards. The year before that, I think we all gave vacuum cleaners. This year the kids are going to get charged, small Visa cards and be encouraged to go act like consumers. They are probably sick of getting educational, age-appropriate gifts from me. All the fun stuff – like chemistry sets and wire-a-radio kits – don’t seem to be out there anymore, anyway.

  33. mac-phisto says:

    way to buy into the hype, consumerist. IT’S NOT EVEN OCTOBER YET! every year retailers try to stretch the 4th quarter a little more.

    by rule, i don’t even think about holiday gifts until after my jack-o-lantern rots away on my front stoop. & god help the retailer playing christmas music right now – i tend to get pretty violent when i hear “jingle bells” & the leaves haven’t even turned yet.

  34. quagmire0 says:

    What does it matter if anyone actually has money or not? THIS IS AMERICA – WE HAVE CREDIT CARDS! :(