Start pouring the champagne early, ladies and gents! The Times reports that Americans are splurging like it’s BR (before the recession).
After a 6 percent free fall in 2008 and a 4 percent uptick last year, retail spending rose 5.5 percent in the 50 days before Christmas, exceeding even the more optimistic forecasts, according to MasterCard Advisors SpendingPulse, which tracks retail spending. The rise was seen in just about every retail category.
“For the past year or two, when I’ve seen growth in one area, it seems to come at the expense of another,” said Michael McNamara, vice president for research and analysis at SpendingPulse. “Here, things are actually all moving in the right direction.”
The MasterCard data suggests that the pre-Christmas sales increase was the biggest in five years. Spending reached about $584.3 billion, compared with $566.3 billion in that period in 2007.
“In the face of 10 percent unemployment and persistent housing woes, the American consumer has single-handedly picked himself off the mat, brushed his troubles off and strapped the U.S. economy on his back,” Craig R. Johnson, the president of the consulting firm Customer Growth Partners, wrote in an e-mail.
WOOOOOOOOOT! Looks like all the cash people have been storing in their bedsprings has come out of hiding! So the economy’s all fixed up now and everyone’s going to get jobs, right?