Discover Finds Consumers Wary

Consumer confidence in the economy fell in November, according to Discover Financial Services.

The Riverwoods, Ill., credit card company said Wednesday that its U.S. Spending Monitor index rose by only half a point last month, to 86.3. The index was pegged at 100 when it was created in 2007.

Consumers responding to a Discover survey said they planned to spend less during the holiday shopping season. The number of people who rated the economy as poor climbed 3 percentage points from October, to 59%, and 49% of consumers said they thought economic conditions were getting worse, another 3-point gain.

Sixty-six percent of respondents rated their personal financial situation as fair or poor, and 49% said their finances were deteriorating. Both figures were unchanged from the previous month.

Sixty-five percent, including 57% of high-income respondents, said they expected to spend less on gifts this holiday season than last year.

Thirty-seven percent of respondents said they would increase spending on household expenses such as gasoline and groceries, up from 34% in October, likely in anticipation of hosting or attending holiday events.

"In the midst of the holiday season, consumers of all income levels are uncertain about the direction of the economy and where it may be headed," Julie Loeger, Discover's senior vice president of brand and product management, said in a press release. "Unfortunately, this uncertainty has consumers hard-pressed to help retailers boost their holiday sales."


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