Windsor Star

Consumers plan to save like Scrooge this Xmas

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OTTAWA Canadian consumers plan to “sit on their wallets” this holiday season as concern over the pace of economic recovery persists, according to a national survey.

“Two months ago all indicators turned negative. Last month, the future brightened while the present stayed dark. And this month, the indicators remained mixed, “TNSCanada, a marketing and research group, said Friday.

“Not surprising­ly, Canadians are indicating this will be the lowest spending holiday-spending season since 2005.”

TNS said its overall consumer index survey was “essentiall­y flat,” rising just 1.3 points this month.

The group’s Present Situation Index, which captures evaluation­s of the overall state of the current economic and employment situations, rose 2.1 points to a reading of 93.5 in November, after two consecutiv­e monthly declines.

The Expectatio­ns Index, which measures consumers’ estimation of the economy, household income and employment in the next six months, reversed a four-month decline, rising 1.4 points to 105.7.

“The gain was a nice complement to October’s two-point gain, “TNS said. “Still, both increases were not quite enough to offset September’s 3.5-point drop.”

The Buy Index, which gauges the degree to which people think the current period is a good time to make major purchases, “had its positive momentum stopped cold” at 95.1, up only 0.1 points from October.

“ Canadians remain ambivalent about the economy,” said Michael Antecol, vice-president of TNS Canada, adding that consumers are saying “they plan to sit on their wallets this holiday season. . . . Expect deep price drops. Expect them soon.”

On the topic of holiday spending, respondent­s said they plan to spend $812 this year, down from $866 last year.

TNS said the survey results are the lowest since 2005 when consumers said they were spending $782 over that holiday season.

TNS said it polled 1,015 Canadians between Nov. 8 and 14. The survey’s margin of error is plus or minus 3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

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