Holiday Retail Sales Surge For Second Straight Year

If your wallet is feeling a bit lighter these days, it’s probably because you’ve done your part over the past few weeks to give the retail sector a needed boost. Holiday spending in the 50 days before Christmas this year was up 5.5 percent over 2009, which yielded a 4 percent increase over 2008.

The New York Times reports the spending explosion topped the predictions of even the most optimistic analysts. Clothing and jewelry spearheaded the national shopping spree, seeing respective rises of 11.2 percent and 8.4 percent.

How did your spending this year compare to years’ past?

Retail Sales Rebound, Beating Forecasts [The New York Times]

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  1. PunditGuy says:

    Better than last year and not as much as two years ago. I’d slowly saved up money over the course of the year for holiday gifts, and we stuck to our budget.

  2. BurtReynolds says:

    And in other news, credit card companies rejoiced as people went back to buying things they can’t afford.

  3. Starfury says:

    We spent WAY more than last year (TV/Laptop/PS3) plus other goodies.

    We also had to buy a new washer and have plumbing work done on the house so that added to our expenses for the month.

    Next year won’t be as spectacular on gifts after this year’s blowout.

    • kingofmars says:

      The economy thanks you for your confidence in it. I spent about the same as last year, but with less worry than last year. I ask had to get my frunace fixed right before Xmas. I wish I was spending it on upgrades like you did. In 2011 I plan on upgrading appliances.

  4. erratapage says:

    I spent more than last year and we did not use credit.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      What is really sad is that a lot of people carry a balance after Christmas shopping. We put all of our expenses on credit cards and pay it off at the end of the month. Unfortunately, most people don’t and they’ll still be paying off the Christmas gifts months later.

  5. mandy_Reeves says:

    There were some insane sales to be had the week or two before Christmas! It was like better than Black Friday IMHO

    well seeing as that I didn’t by presents yet for my in laws who went on vacation on christmas day, and my mom’s b day is Jan 9th…I spent more on myself and hubby with some awesome sales at Target. Not a lot, but we got a lot for what we spent. zip up ski vest thing for 7.50 and a black sweater for 6.00. Jeans for 14.00 Boscov’s had sweats for 5 bucks and polar fleece pull overs for 9.99 and a neat blender for 19.99. Carlton cards had the fancy signature webkinz on sale for 50 percent off. This all was like a week before christmas.

  6. leprechaunshawn says:

    Maybe the recession really did end in June of 2009.

  7. anchorworm is really sick of Minnesota weather says:

    Both the wife and I felt secure in our jobs this year so our buying was way up from last year. That being said, our confidence was not great enough to even consider using credit cards and piling up debt.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      Because using credit cards means piling up debt?

      • beoba says:

        Not if you pay it off every month… Reward harvesting woowoo

        • pecan 3.14159265 says:

          Exactly. It’s why I basically phrased my question to ask anchorworm, “why are you associating using credit cards with piling up debt?”

      • BurtReynolds says:

        Amex for electronics (extended warranty), Discover for everything else (cash back). Will be paid off tonight when i get on the computer.

    • ARP says:

      Since many of us are doing the work of 2-5 people, I think those that still have jobs feel fairly confident in them- employers have slashed or outsourced as much as they can (but don’t underestimate them, they’re a wiley bunch). Granted the pay sucks, but it’s secure employment.

      • mandy_Reeves says:

        right…I have been at my current employer now for 5 months yesterday. It seems I may be there for awhile, so I splurged a weensy little bit. Or I will splurge when the relatives come back from Vacay in Florida.

  8. HogwartsProfessor says:

    I spent too much this year but I really could not go empty-handed. Of course, for me, even $50 is too much since things are so damn tight.

  9. dolemite says:

    I think we spent slightly less this year than last year. Maybe 15-20% less.

    It seemed to me that people in the family gave about 20-25% less this year. Like if last year my wife and I got separate gifts, this year they were all to the both of us.

  10. Outrun1986 says:

    Unfortunately we all need stuff, and since people haven’t spent for the last couple years, they are spending now, because they need stuff. What you didn’t buy 3 years ago, you are buying now (and probably getting something cheaper and better in the process). Stuff wears out and stuff breaks, so I bet the fact that people were delaying purchases and holding out lead to more spending.

  11. brinks says:

    Retailers had better sales and started them earlier. Where I work, our Christmas stuff went super cheap BEFORE Christmas, and, in the days leading up to Christmas, we had some massive discounts on anything that could conceivably be considered a gift.

    I don’t know if it has anything to do with it, but brick and mortar retailers are making it a hell of a lot more convenient to shop. The mall I work at decided to stay open until 11pm EVERY Saturday in December and every night (including Sundays) for a full two weeks before Christmas, which they have never done before. In years past, we stayed open until 11 JUST for the week of Christmas. Sears, Old Navy, and other places were open on Thanksgiving Day for a few hours. Oh, and just to complain, most places around where I live have decided that New Year’s Day is no longer a retail holiday and instead of closing at 6 as they ALWAYS have, they’re open until 9. If you make it easy for people to shop, they’ll shop.

  12. ExtraCelestial says:

    Hmm it may have been about the same. In anticipation of many gift returns and incoming cash donations I was somewhat liberal with my spending this year. The pre-Christmas sales were insane and I was in need of a lot of stuff. However last year I splurged on a Samsung LED (I LOVE it! And it’s actually gone up in price since my purchase- thanks Amazon!), but technically that was in January, after the holidays. 2008 I spent a whole lot of nothing. I had an unexpected bonus, job security, a decent stock pile of liquid funds and I was still incredibly cautious. That was a much scarier time

  13. AnthonyC says:

    I spent about the same this year, but then, I don’t know if I’d notice a 5% change. Also, this year included a lot of “Let’s hold off on that, and we’ll get it for Christmas” type purchases, so a lot of things I was planning to get anyway got bought at this time of the year, but aren’t really holiday shopping. More like “let’s see how the budget is doing and get what we can when we want to give gifts anyway.”

  14. brianary says:

    The retail trade groups usually seem to inflate these numbers to drum up consumer confidence, then scale them back later.

  15. Fineous K. Douchenstein says:

    My mom runs a retail store, and this is the worst holiday season she’s had by a tremendous amount. She didn’t even have the customers showing up like they usually do, let alone those who showed up to buy something.

    • brinks says:

      The company I work for has just as many stores increasing as decreasing over last year. This season sure as hell hasn’t been kind to everyone.