NFCC poll provides little hope for retailers hoping for busy holiday season

shoppersRetailers are hoping for a big holiday season this year. And the sales, both online and in brick-and-mortar stores, were impressive over the Black Friday weekend.

But a recent poll released by the National Foundation for Credit Counseling doesn’t provide much hope that the rest of the holiday shopping season will set any sales records.

According to the poll, 50 percent of consumers say they plan to spend less on holiday purchases than they did last year. Even more surprising? A total of 37 percent of consumers polled said that they plan to spend nothing on holiday shopping this season.

The reason for these rather dismal numbers? Too many consumers remain worried about their jobs. Others are living in homes that are no longer worth what they paid for them, something that has eaten away at their equity. Others are still trying to pay off their holiday purchases from last year.

Gail Cunningham, a spokesperson for the National Foundation for Credit Counseling, said that numbers are a sign that consumers are wary of ovespending and further damaging their financial health.

“This statistic speaks loudly, and underscores that consumers are not willing to repeat the mistakes of Christmases past by spending irresponsibly this year,” Cunning said, in a written statement.

There were some tiny bright spots in the poll. A total of 11 percent of consumers said they would spend the same amount as they did in 2011, while 3 percent said they would actually spend more.

We all know that the holiday season is a make-or-break time for retailers. If the poll results are to believed, it might not be as jolly a season as these retailers had expected.

— Dan Rafter

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