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  • Christmas Shopping Wrap-Up by ARG: American Consumers Spending Less, As Bills & Debts Catch Up with Them

    Charleston, SC, January 9, 2008.... Only 36.0% of American shoppers hit the stores during the week between Christmas and New Year, normally a busy time for retailers, according to the Christmas Shopping Wrap-Up survey conducted by America's Research Group (ARG) the weekend after New Year. This was the lowest shopping level in the past six years. ARG has been conducting consumer surveys during the Christmas shopping season for the past 16 years.

    Of those consumers who did shop last week, 70.1% said they had bought only on-sale items. This is the highest number in three years.

    "In the many years that ARG has been conducting Christmas retail surveys, I can't remember uncovering a more conservative American shopper than during this holiday shopping period," said C. Britt Beemer, founder and Chairman of ARG. "It's going to be hard for most retailers, even the best known brands, to put a positive message out to Wall Street this season."

    When asked "What made you spend less this year," 26.0% of American consumers said that high gas and home heating bills were having the biggest effect and 23.6% said that they had to cut back due to bills and debt. These two responses combined (49.6%) are the highest in three years. Last year the combined response was 30.3%.

    Almost twenty percent (19.1%), postponed a big ticket purchase. When those who postponed a big-ticket purchase of $500 or more were asked the reason for this, "worry about job security" (13.8%) was the highest in recent years.

    The study consists of 800 interviews conducted Friday, Saturday and Sunday, January 4 - 6, 2008, at ARG headquarters in Charleston, SC. The error factor is plus or minus 4.3%.

    American's Research Group (ARG) is the consumer–behavior marketing firm that provides clients the insight, strategy and tactics to increase market share. ARG's expertise in consumer behavior has made it a key resource and advisor to leading brands and top retailers in the nation for 27 years.

    Contacts: Britt Beemer, ARG, Tel: 843 345 0939
    BBA Communications: Barbara Burns / Eve Edwards
    Tel: (212) 486 1140 / (516) 859 3402