Both sides of the story .. holiday spending in 2007

January 10, 2008 at 10:20 am Leave a comment

A CNN Money article today portrayed yet another ‘failing economy’ story that I believe to be one-sided. Although the statistics in the story are accurate, they are misrepresented and biased. How so? Well, I seem to expect the media to give the whole story less and less. Depending on which sites you frequent to get your daily news, you’re not getting a true representation of reality. Some sites happen to be more negative than others, and it’s getting annoying. I just want the truth, not that particular site’s take on it.

CNN’s article is misleading at the onset, titled Holiday shopping slowest in years. The opening line: “The 2007 holiday shopping season is turning out to be the weakest in years after retailers across-the-board reported deep declines in their December sales Thursday.” Right off the bat there’s an assumption made that retail sales were down because consumers are feeling some kind of ‘pinch,’ which is never elaborated. The statistics seem to back up the claim that sales were down, referencing only 0.9% sales growth as compared to last year’s 3.3%.

In fact, it was the clothing sellers, department stores and other specialty chains that felt the pinch this past holiday season. In contrast, stores like Wal-mart and Costco enjoyed an increase in sales.

So, holiday sales in 2007 were weak. But wait a minute. After reading this article, I had one thought, what about online sales? You can’t simply say that holiday sales have been the weakest in years without including one of the most crucial components of holiday shopping. So I ran a quick search and came across an interesting and pertinent article. Not one found on CNN, because, let’s face it, the article is actually optimistic. Ironically, it’s from Fox Business.

According to it, holiday sales were up 19% from the previous year, surpassing $29 billion. You can read the article here for a breakdown of the sales statistics during November and December of 2007.

In reality, I believe these contrasting articles to be more trend markers than anything. I think these are more indicative of a shift from in-store sales to online rather than a portrayal of the ‘failing’ economy.

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Entry filed under: Soap Box, Spending.

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