Holiday Shopping Kicks off With Inflation Dampening Spirits
By ANNE D'INNOCENZIO, AP Retail Writer
NEW YORK (AP) While Black Friday will mark a return to familiar holiday shopping patterns, uncertainty still remains.
The U.S. job market remains strong, consumer spending is resilient and inflation has been slowing. But elevated prices for food, rent, gasoline and other household costs have taken a toll on shoppers.
As a result, many are reluctant to spend unless there is a big sale and are being more selective with what they will buy in many cases, trading down to cheaper stuff and less expensive stores.
Shoppers are also dipping more into their savings, turning increasingly to buy now, pay later services like Afterpay that allow users to pay for items in installments, as well as running up their credit cards at a time when the Federal Reserve is hiking rates to cool the U.S. economy.
Such financial hardships could help drive shoppers to look for bargains.
Isela Dalencia, who was shopping for household essentials like detergent at a Walmart in Secaucus, New Jersey, earlier this week, said she's delaying buying holiday gifts until Cyber Monday the Monday after Thanksgiving when online sales rev up. Then, she will wait again until the week before Christmas to get the best deals, unlike last year when she started buying before Black Friday.
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