Bad news for retailers, and credit card companies

More

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.

Jump to comments
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.

Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

When Will Robots Take Over the World?

"In a sense, we're already becoming cyborgs."


Elsewhere on the web

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

Is Wine Healthy?

James Hamblin prepares to impress his date with knowledge about the health benefits of wine.

Video

The World's Largest Balloon Festival

Nine days, more than 700 balloons, and a whole lot of hot air

Video

The Origins of Bungee Jumping

"We had this old potato sack and I filled it up with rocks and dropped it over the side. It just hit the water, split, dropping all the stones. And that was our test."

Video

Is Trading Stocks for Suckers?

If you think you’re smarter than the stock market, you’re probably either cheating or wrong

Video

I Spent Half My Life Making a Video Game

How a childhood hobby became a labor of love

Writers

Up
Down

More in Business

Just In