Consumers still spending on holidays despite economic concern
Despite concerns about the economy and rising household expenses, nearly three out of five (59%) consumers will put aside economic worries and spend the same or more this holiday season, according to Deloitte’s 26th annual survey of holiday spending intentions and trends. While this is a slight decline from 2010, it represents an eight-percentage point increase from 2009.
“Lackluster employment growth, debt crises and stock market fluctuations have battered consumer confidence, while inflation left many with lighter wallets this fall,” said Alison Paul, vice chairman and U.S. retail and distribution leader, Deloitte. “Consumers will be conservative this holiday season, but remain resilient and maintain a more positive interest in holiday shopping than we witnessed during the recession.”
Among holiday shopping destinations, the Internet and discount stores are at the top of the list, with 48% of consumers planning to shop these two destinations for holiday gifts. While online interest climbed, discounters slid 10 percentage points from 2010.
More than one-quarter (27%) of smartphone owners plan to use their devices for holiday shopping to search for store locations (67%), compare prices (59%) and check product availability (46%). Additionally, 44% plan to use social media to seek discounts, read reviews and check family and friends’ gift lists.
“Consumers are using online and mobile platforms to make the most of their holiday budgets, and the survey indicates that they will do more than just compare prices,” Paul said. “Retailers that use mobile and online channels to show product availability, locations and pricing but add customized promotions and gift ideas may encourage shoppers to come in the door for a specific gift and take additional items to the register.”
In other survey findings:
• Of the 68% of consumers who plan to change the way they shop to save money, 51% plan to head online to find better prices — up 10% from last year — while 46% plan to buy more items that qualify for free shipping;
• More than half of consumers (53%) plan to begin shopping before Thanksgiving, but 73% intend to hold out until after this holiday to make the majority of their purchases;
• Apparel ranked as the most popular holiday gift (48%), followed by gift cards (45%, down 11% from last year); and
• Higher-income households’ gift spending will hold up, while middle- and lower-income groups are paring back. Households earning $100,000 or more annually expect to trim gift spending by 2% to shell out an average of $812 on gifts, compared with a 26% drop to $291 on gifts among those earning less than $100,000.
For more on the survey, go to deloitte.com/us/2011HolidaySurvey.
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Credit card scam nets $241,600 from Home Depot, Lowe’s
A conspiracy involving fraudulent credit accounts at Home Depot and Lowe’s obtained $241,600 in merchandise before federal and local authorities uncovered the plot, according to an announcement from the U.S. Attorney’s office in the Eastern District of California.
Jairo Fernandez, 27, of Bakersfield, Calif., pled guilty to a credit card fraud conspiracy that involved two other individuals, according to court documents. Fernandez admitted that between November 2007 and August 2010, he conspired with Jorge Palenzuela, 42, of Bakersfield, and Yuri Perez Machado, 39, of Delano, to open credit card accounts with Lowe’s and Home Depot stores in their own names but using the information taken from publicly available business documents of victim companies, including the companies’ employer or tax identification numbers. Fernandez and his alleged co-conspirators obtained credit card account numbers in California, Kansas and Texas.
This case is the product of an investigation by the United States Secret Service, with assistance from the Bakersfield Police Department.
Fernandez is scheduled to be sentenced on Jan. 9, 2012. He faces a maximum statutory penalty of five years in prison. The actual sentence, however, may also be influenced by other variables under the statutory sentencing factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines.
Charges against Palenzuela and Machado are pending. The two are scheduled for a hearing on Nov. 21, 2011. Neither has admitted guilt to the allegations.
Just wondering if any of the
Just wondering if any of the accused are "legal" residents of the United States.
WD-40 sets sales record
WD-40, the San Diego-based maker of lubricants and home cleaning and maintenance products, reported net sales of $90.7 million for its fourth fiscal quarter, an increase of 12% from sales in the same quarter a year ago. Net income for the quarter, which ended Aug. 31, was $10.2 million, an increase of 48% compared with the prior-year fiscal quarter.
In year-end results, net sales were $336.4 million, up 5% from the prior fiscal year — a record for the company. Year-to-date net income was $36.4 million, an increase of 1% from the prior fiscal year, also a record for the company.
In a prepared statement, company CEO and president Garry Ridge said: “While we are happy with the big year we had and our record sales and net income, the year was not without its own pains with the pressure of rising commodity prices, reduction of gross margin and flat earnings.
“We launched three new products in the new WD-40 Specialist product line, a portfolio of specialty problem-solving products aimed at the trade and doer enthusiast, as planned in 2011," Ridge said. "We will add new items as we roll out the line in January 2012 in the U.S. and in other regions later in the year.”
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