Jewish World Review Dec. 1, 2003 / 6 Kislev, 5764

Neil Cavuto

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Consumer Reports

Let's give thank$ | Now that we've eaten turkey, I want to talk turkey. I want to talk holiday spending. I want to talk big holiday spending. Because, mark my words and save this column, holiday sales are going to be huge. Huge.


Because contrary to media reports, most of us are still bummed out. I think we're ready to bust out, and we're going to be busting out in malls and stores across this country these next four weeks or so.

What has me so upbeat?

Little things, really. Little things like Tom.

Tom's a friend of mine. He's a nice guy, but he's a cheap guy. He rarely splurges on anything. I say he's a product of his Puritan upbringing. No flash. No dash. Invariably, no cash.

But Tom's a little weird this year. I don't know whether it's a mid-life crisis, but seeing no young blondes in a red corvette, I can only assume it's an attitudinal shift. But what a shift! Tom says he plans to treat his wife to some fancy leather coat she's been eyeing for months.

"Why?" I asked.

"Because she's put in a rough couple of years," Tom answered.

The same with his kids. The one son going off to college is getting some fancy MP3 player he always wanted, and for the family something else still. Tom is definitely a wild and crazy guy now, and it's not a big raise at work or even signs he's more stable at work that's making him wild and crazy.

Tom is, in a word, restless. He's not spent much money in years, and he's sick of it.

I think there are a lot of Toms out there — a lot of people who are sick of sitting tight and keeping their spending tighter still. I don't exactly think they're going to be reckless, but they're going to be busier. They're going to be shopping more and buying more.

Other little things point to it. Things like consumer confidence numbers — on average, up 10 points from last year at this time. And things like stocks — up 15 percent or more during the same period, and if you're lucky enough to own comeback technology stocks, up more than 70 percent since then.

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None of this means Americans are hell-bent on buying. Let's just say they're not hellish on their lives. Retailers know full well that a happier customer is a better customer . . . someone with more hope in his heart generally spends more cash in his wallet.

We're already seeing anecdotal evidence of this from a variety of retailers. Wal-Mart is reporting increased volume in its toy department. Best Buy is seeing it among all its electronic items. And Macy's is seeing it in women's perfume. Even I'm smelling the scent. It's that of a consumer not only willing to dip his or her foot in the water, but do a cannonball splash as well!

I hear some economists have conservatively predicted holiday sales gains about 3 percent ahead of last year. I think they're being positively Scroogian. I think they'll be at least triple that. You heard me right. I'm predicting holiday sales this season will be 8 to 9 percent better. That's right . . . up to 9 percent better than last year!

Mark it on your Etch-a-Sketch (which is selling very well, I might add).

Shop early. Shop now. Beat the crowds. Get the deals.

And save this column. I will readily refer to it when I'm proven right.

Or . . . shake it off the Etch-a-Sketch if I'm somehow proven wrong.

Doubtful. But ready.

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Neil Cavuto is managing editor of Business News at FOX News Channel. He is also the host of "Your World with Neil Cavuto" and "Cavuto on Business." Comment by clicking here.


11/24/03: Camelot . . . not
11/17/03: Cordially speaking, I hate you!
11/03/03: I can't "wait" to get back at you!
10/27/03: What would we die to know?
10/20/03: Smile while you work
10/13/03: Dull man walking: Why Gray was too gray
10/05/03: Who says we're so depressed?
09/29/03: Thanks, but no thanks
09/22/03: Big Companies vs. Big Government
09/15/03: Terrorists and idiots: Financial lessons learned
09/08/03: Watch out, Mr. President
09/03/03: Tips for Empty Nesters
08/25/03: Friends and hypocrites
08/18/03: When good news goes bad
08/04/03: PHONY BALONEY!
07/28/03: The meaning of a pin
07/21/03: We are what we eat
07/14/03: Don't like it, don't keep it!
07/07/03: The check, and the recovery, is in the mail!
06/29/03: Who says Al's our pal?
06/23/03: The big pitch for the "big get," no big deal!

© 2003, Neil Cavuto