Consumer Payment Card News

Xmas 2001

This could be the weakest holiday spending season since the recession of 1990-91. This year, before the current recession was documented and before the terrorist attacks were launched, holiday sales were predicted to rise only 2.5%. During the 1991 holiday shopping season, retail sales increased a mere 2.75%. According to the forecast by PriceWaterhouseCoopers, holiday retail sales grew 4.5% last year and 7.5% for 1999. With the events of last week it appears holiday retail sales may be hard pressed to grow 2.5%. Overall holiday spending will be greatly impacted as consumers avoid air travel, large cities, and big ticket items. At mid-year, bank credit card charge volume grew at an annual rate of 14%. Some credit card issuers expect little or no growth in credit card activity for the fourth quarter compared to one year ago.

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