Christmas Shopping Season a 'Fizzle?'
Even one day after Christmas, the big three networks were still playing Grinch â putting down a retail sales increase of about 6.5 percent as somehow inadequate. This from the same media that complained Americans were spending too much just one month before.
âStores need more than returnees to turn this so-so Christmas shopping season into one to celebrate,â said Bill Whitaker during the CBS âEvening News.â Later Whitaker added that âin December the sizzle fizzled.â
Estimates by Visa put seasonal spending at 6.5 percent over last year, and SpendingPulse/Mastercard at 6.6 percent according to the broadcasts.
But, as CNBCâs Scott Cohn said during NBC âNightly News,â â[T]hatâs less than the industry hoped for and below the nearly nine percent increase last year.â
During ABCâs âWorld New Tonight with Charles Gibson,â Gibson introduced Gigi Stoneâs report saying, â[A]s stores reopened today, retailers were hoping post-Christmas sales would rescue Christmas sales.â
Good news about gift cards and Amazon.com were minimized or not reported. Only ABCâs Stone went so far as to say gift cards âmay be a silver lining.â Her segment was also the only one that mentioned Amazon.comâs âbest holiday season ever.â
And even though the NBC report did say that $25 billion in gift cards were purchased, a record number, the tone of the report was overwhelmingly negative. It included two retail analysts and one unidentified shopper who were pessimistic.
The irony of the âso-soâ reporting of this shopping season is that spending too much and not saving enough also made for negative news.
On November 24, CBS âEvening Newsâ reported that buying on credit was an âAmerican traditionâ that has some economists worried. In 2006, the personal savings rate average was negative 0.6 percent. âThe personal savings rate hasnât dipped so low since the Great Depression,â said reporter Sandra Hughes.