Just how tough will it be for retailers this holiday season?
Apparently the outlook has worsened month to month, according to a new survey by the University of Florida.
UF surveyed about 500 residents by phone in September and 500 in October. The September survey showed shoppers planned to spend 38 percent less than last year — from $1,324 per resident to $828. In the October survey, that slumped further to $802.
"The 2008 holiday season will be one of the worst for retailers in decades,'' predicted Barton Weitz, executive director of UF's Miller Center for Retailing and Bureau of Economic and Business Research.
In sharp contrast to previous years, Burton said the anticipated cut in spending was across all income brackets.
Just over 50 percent of consumers making less than $30,000 per household intend to spend less compared with 37 percent in middle-income households (less than $60,000) and 19 percent of upper-middle-income households (less than $100,000). It was the first time even high-income households (more than $100,000) planned to tighten their belts, with more than a third planning a "dramatic reduction'' in spending, the survey found.
The survey's margin of error is 3 percent.