American consumers restrained themselves over the Thanksgiving holiday. With regard to shopping, at any rate. As Hiroko Tabucchi of the New York Times reports:
Sales, both in stores and online, from Thanksgiving through the weekend were estimated to have dropped 11 percent, to $50.9 billion, from $57.4 billion last year, according to preliminary survey results released Sunday by the National Retail Federation. Sales fell despite many stores’ opening earlier than ever on Thanksgiving Day.
Experts are of (at least) two minds for why this should be, as:
Executives at the retail federation, which had predicted strong growth in sales this holiday season, appeared at a loss to fully explain the drop-off. The results could show that “there are a significant number of Americans out there for whom the recession is not yet over,” said Matthew Shay, the group’s president and chief executive. At the same time, those who did feel more flush, thanks to lower fuel prices and brightening job prospects, might not have felt the need to hunt down the rock-bottom Black Friday deals, he said.
Consumers, then, are either worried or confident about the state of things.
Clears that right up.