Bad news for retailers, and credit card companies

Retail sales plummeted in November and December.



This is exactly what I, for one, expected--every time I went to a mall, the parking lot was full, but there were no lines at checkout.  This isn't only bad news for retailers, but also for credit card issuers, since one guess where the money that wasn't spent at Christmas is probably going.

But it seems to me that this is actually good news for consumers and, in the long run, the economy.  Americans are massively over their heads in debt, and have been consuming beyond their means for a long time.  The data shows them cutting back their spending to more reasonable levels, and cutting back the most in the most discretionary categories.  I feel bad for Hermes and all, but we couldn't keep propping them up forever.

Presented by

Megan McArdle is a columnist at Bloomberg View and a former senior editor at The Atlantic. Her new book is The Up Side of Down.

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash (and Why)

Cooking for yourself is one of the surest ways to eat well. Bestselling author Mark Bittman teaches James Hamblin the recipe that everyone is Googling.

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash (and Why)

Cooking for yourself is one of the surest ways to eat well.

Video

Before Tinder, a Tree

Looking for your soulmate? Write a letter to the "Bridegroom's Oak" in Germany.

Video

The Health Benefits of Going Outside

People spend too much time indoors. One solution: ecotherapy.

Video

Where High Tech Meets the 1950s

Why did Green Bank, West Virginia, ban wireless signals? For science.

Video

Yes, Quidditch Is Real

How J.K. Rowling's magical sport spread from Hogwarts to college campuses

Video

Would You Live in a Treehouse?

A treehouse can be an ideal office space, vacation rental, and way of reconnecting with your youth.

More in Business

Just In