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Report: Consumers showing interest in holiday electronics purchases


Yonkers, N.Y. A Consumer Reports Index released Tuesday found that, with just a little more than two weeks to go until the traditional Black Friday shopping blitz, consumers are showing more interest in purchasing personal electronics.

One quarter (24.9%) of Americans are planning to buy small or personal electronics this month, up five percentage points from October, according to the Consumer Reports Index.

The Consumer Reports Next-30-Day Retail Index shows that planned retail purchasing for November was up slightly to 9.0 from 8.3 for the prior month. Planned purchasing of personal electronics in November has surpassed the near-term high in July (22.1). Major home electronics ticked up slightly to 10.7% from 10% in October -- its highest level since June.

However, overall the bulk of consumers are reluctant to increase their retail spending habits as the unofficial start of the holiday shopping season approaches.

"While relative stability has returned to the Retail Index, it has not been able to demonstrate growth for three straight periods. With the holiday season fast approaching, this has dire implications for expectations this season," said Ed Farrell, a director of the Consumer Reports National Research Center.

Overall, the Past 30-Day Retail Index fell slightly to 9.0 from 10.4 in October and was significantly behind September (11.0). The Next 30-Day Retail Index stands at 9.0, relatively unchanged over the past three months.

The Consumer Reports Sentiment Index appears to be stabilizing, an improvement that coincides with a decline in personal financial difficulties and the Consumer Reports Trouble Tracker has fallen slightly to 62.1 from 65.5 in October and is down significantly from September's high of 68.7.

The Consumer Reports Stress Index stands at 60.5, down slightly from October (62.3) but well below September (65.4). Additionally, the Employment Index is at 49.0 virtually unchanged from October's 48.4 reflective of a market that is still shedding jobs.

"The economy remains in a precarious position where further decline is possible but is slightly less likely. Unless consumers can see concrete improvements in their lives and retail activity picks up, any near-term recovery is improbable," Farrell added.

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