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Time is running out for holiday shoppers

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steve carmody
/
Michigan Radio

Michigan store owners expect to be very busy this weekend.

Meegan Holland, with the Michigan Retailers Association, says with Christmas falling on Monday many holiday buyers will be shopping in stores and online.

“Going into this Super Saturday weekend, 45% of people still have some Christmas shopping to do,” says Holland, “It could be an epic weekend.”

A payment technology firm says that holiday spending is surging in the days before Christmas.

First Data says that overall spending, excluding gas, rose 9.2% from Nov. 1 through Monday, outpacing the 3.7% for the year-ago period. The company analyzes online and in-store payments for 1.3 million merchants.

Retail spending, which excludes grocery stores, restaurants, auto parts merchants and gas stations, is up 6.6%, more than the 2% growth for the year-ago period.

Online sales growth continues to outpace brick-and-mortar growth, at 11% compared with 5.4% for stores.

In other economic news, American consumers stepped up their spending last month, a good sign for the holiday shopping season.

The U.S. Commerce Department says that consumer spending rose a sharp 0.6% from October, outpacing a 0.3% increase in personal income. As a result, the savings rate fell to 2.9% of after-tax income in November, lowest since November 2007.

The numbers bode well for the holidays and for the overall economy: Consumer spending accounts for about 70% of U.S. economic output.

Spending on both goods and services rose in November, led by increases in purchases of recreational goods, vehicles electricity and gas.

The savings rate has been falling steadily since February when it was at 4.1%.

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