This data may show how close to the precipice of recession our economy really is. The MasterCard Advisors Spending Pulse Report issued on Chistmas day said that sales in the two months before Christmas increased 0.7 percent, compared with last year. Many analysts had expected holiday sales to grow 3 to 4 percent.
The Spending Pulse data include sales by retailers in key holiday spending categories such as electronics, clothing, jewelry, luxury goods, furniture and other home goods between Oct. 28 and Dec. 24. They include sales across all payment methods, including cards, cash and checks.
Many retailers and consumer goods manufacturers generate about 40-60% of their annual sales during the two months prior to Christmas, and a weak holiday season translates into lower than expected sales that cannot be recouped until next year.