It’s official says the Economist, Americans are shopped out.

Spending growth is unlikely to resume soon. Earlier in the week the Conference Board, a research firm, said that its index of consumer confidence fell to its lowest level since the survey began in 1967. The drop is alarming but not surprising. American consumers could not withstand repeated blows to their financial wellbeing indefinitely. Household wealth has shrivelled. Stockmarkets are down by around a third since the start of the year. House prices in 20 big cities fell in August at an annual rate of 16.6% according to the S&P/Case-Shiller measure. The continued fall in property prices has left a large and growing fraction of households underwater on their home loans.

Are they saying consumer confidence is at the lowest level since 1967? No wonder the stores skipped Halloween and went straight to Christmas, retailers are preparing for the worst. This year’s ad campaign will go something like, “when they deserve the very best, it is definitively the thought that counts”. Geez, I foresee a few fruitcakes in my future and I’m not talking about my friends.

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