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WSJ: A greater number of Americans are expected to give cash as gifts this season – 18% of 1,000 shoppers polled in November said they planned to give money as a holiday gift, according to a survey by America’s Research Group, a Charleston, S.C. consumer research firm. This figure is up from the 12% of shoppers who said they would give cash for the holidays in a similar survey in November 2007.
Additionally, 64.4% of shoppers who said they were not giving gift cards as presents this year said they planned on handing out money instead. The bad news for retailers doesn’t stop there – the survey also shows that 90% of those questioned said that if they received money as a holiday present, they would not spend it at retail. This means those cash gifts aren’t likely to result in a bump in sales at department stores and boutiques after Christmas.
“They said they would use it to pay bills or buy groceries; some said they might use it to go to the movies,” says C. Britt Beemer, chief executive of America’s Research Group, who revised his sales forecast for the holiday season today. Mr. Beemer now estimates that holiday sales this year will drop 3.5%, representing a bigger decrease than the 1% decline for the season that he had projected in mid-November. “This retail season is in trouble.”
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