09 holiday spending, says expert

Fewer lines of credit cut spending this holiday season, says a new report Despite many consumers’ plans to avoid spending money on their credit card this holiday season, new research is showing that restricted lines of credit being implemented by creditors.

According to Britt Beemer, the chairman of the polling firm America’s Research Group, restrictions on consumer’s credit lines may be responsible for a decline in sales during the November and December to $436.7 billion, 1.2 percent below the spending figures during the same months taken one year earlier, BusinessWeek recently reported.

ARG research found a noticeable decline in credit offerings has taken place in 2009 resulting in 10 percent more credit requests being denied than in 2008 while 37 percent of cardholders had their credit lines amended somewhat.

If not for the decline in credit, Beemer said that end of year sales in ’09 could have been a completely different story. Instead of a decline, he told BusinessWeek that sales could have climbed by 0.8 percent to $445.5 billion during that same time period.

The potential for a decline in sales will likely not sit well with retailers whom are already dealing with a decline in consumer spending for the third straight year. A recent study from Consumer Reports found the average consumer would spend $699 on holiday gifts this season, an average of $41 less than 2008 figures.