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.
â€śStores need more than returnees to turn this so-so Christmas shopping season into one to celebrate,â€ť said Bill Whitaker during the CBS â€śEvening News.â€ť Later Whitaker added that â€śin December the sizzle fizzled.â€ť
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 CNBCâ€™s Scott Cohn said during NBC â€śNightly News,â€ť â€ś[T]hatâ€™s less than the industry hoped for and below the nearly nine percent increase last year.â€ť
During ABCâ€™s â€śWorld New Tonight with Charles Gibson,â€ť Gibson introduced Gigi Stoneâ€™s report saying, â€ś[A]s stores reopened today, retailers were hoping post-Christmas sales would rescue Christmas sales.â€ť
Good news about gift cards and Amazon.com were minimized or not reported. Only ABCâ€™s Stone went so far as to say gift cards â€śmay be a silver lining.â€ť Her segment was also the only one that mentioned Amazon.comâ€™s â€śbest holiday season ever.â€ť
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 â€śso-soâ€ť reporting of this shopping season is that spending too much and not saving enough also made for negative news.
On November 24, CBS â€śEvening Newsâ€ť reported that buying on credit was an â€śAmerican traditionâ€ť that has some economists worried. In 2006, the personal savings rate average was negative 0.6 percent. â€śThe personal savings rate hasnâ€™t dipped so low since the Great Depression,â€ť said reporter Sandra Hughes.