A strengthening labor market and lower gasoline prices mean Americans have extra cash for the holidays. Some economists are forecasting the money will keep flowing into, and out of, consumers’ pockets next year.
Spending on the four days starting with the Thanksgiving holiday rose 1 percent from a year earlier to $22.2 billion, with fewer people hitting stores while spending more, according to researcher ShopperTrak.
The first spending decline on a Black Friday weekend since 2009 reinforced projections for a lackluster holiday, increasing chances retailers will extend the deep discounts already hurting their profit margins.
Retail sales in the U.S. rose less than forecast and consumer confidence fell to a five-month low, signaling weakness in the world’s largest economy days before Federal Reserve policy makers meet to consider paring stimulus.