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Ka-ching in the Season

If the holidays seem to take a bigger bite out of your budget every year, it’s not your imagination. The National Retail Federation estimates that Americans will spend a grand total of $457.4 billion at retail stores this holiday season, an increase of 5 percent over 2005. Chicago’s contribution to that total will be roughly $12.8 billion.

If the holidays seem to take a bigger bite out of your budget every year, it’s not your imagination. The National Retail Federation estimates that Americans will spend a grand total of $457.4 billion at retail stores this holiday season, an increase of 5 percent over 2005. Chicago’s contribution to that total will be roughly $12.8 billion.

24
Number of holiday gifts the typical shopper expects to buy
$671
Amount the average U.S. consumer planned to spend on gifts in 2005
$928
Actual amount the average U.S. consumer spent on gifts in 2005
Sources: Consolidated Credit Counseling, Unity Marketing Gift Report

Chicago Sales Figures

Over the past couple of years, spending at Chicago discount and department stores has wavered, while sales at specialty apparel stores have gone up significantly. There are a couple of reasons, says John C. Melaniphy, president of Melaniphy & Associates, a retail consulting firm: “Sears did not advertise in the last quarter of 2005, and they saw their sales decline. Also, old Field’s customers were really upset [about the change to Macy’s], and I believe that’s reflected in the declines of the last quarter of 2005.” As for discount stores, adds Melaniphy, consumers have found that lower prices sometimes mean lower quality, and they’re going back to more expensive apparel stores.

 

Figures for Chicago metro area, October–December. Source: Illinois Department of Revenue


40%
Percentage of people who started holiday shopping before Halloween last year
12.4%
Percentage of people who were completely finished shopping ten days before Christmas
Source: National Retail Federation

The Ghost of Christmas Past

59%
Percentage of U.S. consumers who acquired credit card debt during the 2004 holidays
14%
Percentage who were still paying off this debt as the 2005 holiday season approached
5th
highest

Rank of Illinois in credit card debt per state
$36 billion
Total amount of credit card debt carried by Illinois consumers
$7,669
Average amount of credit card debt per Illinois household

Sources: Consolidated Credit Counseling Services, Center for a New American Dream/Widmeyer Research and Polling

Most Popular Toys

Trends come and go; this season’s hot toy becomes next year’s garage sale item. Through the decades, though, certain toys have been such solid hits that chances are good your own kids have found them under the Christmas tree.

1900s
Crayola crayons
1910s
Raggedy Ann dolls
1920s
Madame Alexander dolls
1930s
Viewmaster 3-D viewer
1940s
Candy Land
1950s
Mr. Potato Head

 

 
 
 
 
1960s
G.I. Joe
1970s
Rubik’s cube
1980s
Cabbage Patch Kids
1990s
Beanie Babies
2000s
Razor scooter
Source: Forbes

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