AmEx Sees Cautious Consumer Spending This Holiday Season

Posted by Barry Silverstein on November 16, 2011 09:55 AM

Retailers always approach the holiday shopping season with a mixture of cautious optimism and trepidation. While this year will be no different, at least one market survey suggests American retailers may be able to breathe a small sigh of relief.

That's because American consumers will spend, on average, 17 percent more money than last year. Americans will spend an average of $831 on gifts this holiday season, $121 more than last year, according to the latest American Express Spending & Saving Tracker report.

But consumers will also be shopping smarter, taking advantage of strategies that will save them money. Pre-holiday shopping is expected to increase by 37 percent over last year. That's one reason Walmart is aggressively promoting its layaway program and pitching a "Christmas Price Guarantee."Continue reading...

For Back-to-School, Wal-Mart’s Still Got It

Posted by Dale Buss on August 16, 2011 03:05 PM

Those clucking about Wal-Mart’s woes may want to pay attention this month as American parents participate in the real reason they call it “the dog days of August”: the back-to-school spending binge. A new survey says that parents prefer Wal-Mart by more than two to one over the next closest retailer, Target.

So, despite recent uncertainty about its fundamental pricing and merchandising strategy, Wal-Mart is still perceived as the place to go for bargains on mundane stuff like backpacks, jeans and folders. The chain may have lost its edge, at least temporarily, as Americans’ default choice for “the lowest prices,” but its reputation for comprehensive selection clearly is offsetting that.Continue reading...

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