Shoppers are partying like it’s 2007 again

Let's party like it's 2007

"I've been saving for three years to score these pretty average sheet sets!"

Start pouring the champagne early, ladies and gents! The Times reports that Americans are splurging like it’s BR (before the recession).

After a 6 percent free fall in 2008 and a 4 percent uptick last year, retail spending rose 5.5 percent in the 50 days before Christmas, exceeding even the more optimistic forecasts, according to MasterCard Advisors SpendingPulse, which tracks retail spending. The rise was seen in just about every retail category.

“For the past year or two, when I’ve seen growth in one area, it seems to come at the expense of another,” said Michael McNamara, vice president for research and analysis at SpendingPulse. “Here, things are actually all moving in the right direction.”

The MasterCard data suggests that the pre-Christmas sales increase was the biggest in five years. Spending reached about $584.3 billion, compared with $566.3 billion in that period in 2007.

“In the face of 10 percent unemployment and persistent housing woes, the American consumer has single-handedly picked himself off the mat, brushed his troubles off and strapped the U.S. economy on his back,” Craig R. Johnson, the president of the consulting firm Customer Growth Partners, wrote in an e-mail.

WOOOOOOOOOT! Looks like all the cash people have been storing in their bedsprings has come out of hiding! So the economy’s all fixed up now and everyone’s going to get jobs, right?

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Revenge of the Wal-Marts

snooty couple

I bet even that dog is getting the same lavish treatment in stores now.

The rich have been ashamed to be rich since the economy started its downfall, so it’s no wonder the NYT reports that expensive boutiques and retailers have decided to be super extra nice to every potential shopper (hint: this means you.)

A few steps away at Dennis Basso, a fur store, Mr. Basso himself was greeting customers. “It can’t hurt,” he said. “Stores that don’t normally have great customer service are trying harder. They’re reaching out and giving that special treatment to the … ” and here, he paused for emphasis, “ … Christmas shopper.”

It makes sense that in tough times every customer’s worth rises a bit in proportion to how poorly sales are falling. In fact, stores are taking such a high interest in doting on you that jobs are at stake.

And, yes, those doormen really are cheerier. Jim Gold, the chief executive of the store, said he replaced the security company that hires them “when we found the ones we were using weren’t as friendly as we wanted them to be.”

And it turns out many of these luxury brands need all the customer service training they can get.

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