Poor Holiday Spending Trends Could Hurt E-commerce And Retail Alike

Stocks:  (WMT)(TGT)(FD)

MasterCard Advisors says that holiday spending is growing at about half of last year’s 8% increase. The news is not exactly a bright spot for companies like Wal-Mart, Target, or Federated. They need a sharp untick to drive earnings. Wal-Mart especially needs a jolt.

Online sales growth is also slowing. The rate of increase has been over 20% in years past but Reuters quotes a SpendingPulse executive as saying  “this year they’re in the teens,” This would seem to contradict data from ComScore that shows online spending up about 25% for the holidays.

If the Mastercard data is right, a lot of retailers are going to have rough fourth quarters.

Douglas A. McIntyre can be reached at [email protected]. He does not own securities in companies that he writes about.

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