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  • According to Britt Beemer’s ARG/UBS Christmas Forecast Out Today Americans Continue to Break Forecast Records As Never Before!!

    CHARLESTON, SC – According to the Christmas Shopping Survey released from America's Research Group and UBS today (and based on research conducted over this past weekend), more Americans continue to cut back on their credit card usage than ever before. For the first time in over 26 years of Survey history, Cash is the King of Christmas.

    Moreover, in a major surprise, consumers came out in droves to shop this weekend -– a whopping 74.5% shopped this past weekend compared to 65.8% a year ago. "This is a major surprise," said Britt Beemer, Chairman and Founder of America’s Research Group. "It may foreshadow pent-up demand or it may indicate that, yes, Americans are going out there to 'shop 'til they drop' as never before but they are still exercising what we call 'The New Responsibility' – they are carrying to-do lists based on their available cash – and sticking to them; they are researching their purchases in advance – and sticking to that research."

    "They may still be still be hunting for the deals, too," continued Mr. Beemer. "Over Black Friday that meant electronics; now it's the Clothing Frenzy that has taken over. And we predict that kids' clothes are about to surge big-time because parents held off their back-to-school buying until now!

    "We also see that while Americans are shopping in numbers we never expected to see at this time this season, fewer Americans are actually finished with their shopping. This means that Americans are potentially stepping out there to spend but it remains to be seen if they spend more than what that cash they've allotted allows. So the new post-Thanksgiving 'Black Friday' looks like it’s giving way to the new 'Cash-in-Hand Christmas.' It's a first in our history."

    "Finally, the Wal-Mart news is big news. Americans have stopped shopping Wal-Mart in droves and are suddenly heading out to Target. This is a big surprise as well. One reason may be that Target has done a better job of advertising their offerings – thus making them a lot more appealing. And Americans love the trendier approach to clothing at gift-giving time. They are also offering new, innovative ways that consumers can spend less."

    Key Survey Results:
    Over seven in ten (72.8%) will finish their Christmas shopping between the 20th and 24th of December.

    The most customers in ten years are waiting until December 24th to finish Christmas shopping (34.8%).

    Of those waiting until the 24th so they can get more sales, two in five (40.7%) want to see 70% off.

    Only one in five (20.8%) are using credit cards compared to three in ten (29.7%) using credit cards last year.

    One in five (20.0%) parents with children are spending less this Christmas due to worries about money for college.

    Wal-Mart shopping levels are dramatically down from 43.8% this weekend last year to 32.7% this year. Target shopping levels rose from 13.9% last year to 20.6% this weekend.

    Consumers buying something for themselves is steady at 30.6% this compared to 29.1% last year.

    Shopping levels this Christmas season at Wal-Mart are down slightly from 72.7% last year to 68.5% this year.

    Category increases of those shopping at Wal-Mart:
    Toys at 41.8% up from 37.5% last year.
    Children’s apparel at 27.9% up from 26.1% last year.
    Jacket/coat at 14.9% up from 10.3% last year.

    The ARG/UBS research consisted of 1000 telephone interviewed December 3 to 5, 2010 at ARG headquarters in Charleston, SC. The error factor is plus or minus 3.8%. The next ARG/UBS shopping survey will be conducted the weekend of December 10 to 12. The surveys will continue every week through the shopping season.

    America's Research Group, one of the nation's foremost consumer research and strategic marketing firms, marked its 30th anniversary in 2009. CEO Britt Beemer is a key resource and advisor to leading brands and top retailers. He is author of The Customer Rules, published by McGraw-Hill.

    UBS Global Equity Research provides the broad global perspective and in-depth analysis that institutional investors need to make good investment decisions. With more than 600 analysts, associates, strategists and economists in EMEA, APAC and the Americas, UBS covers approximately 85% of the world market capitalization – over 3,300 companies worldwide across 46 different markets. In addition to UBS's disciplined fundamental research, clients also rely on UBS for corporate and expert access to give them the insight they need, when they need it.