Well, it's official: These are tough times. It's not really a stretch to think that the coming holiday season may be reminiscent of the Grinch coming down the chimney in the dead of night to steal Christmas.
The consumer confidence figure for September may have been a wee bit more confident than it has been lately, clocking in at 59.8, but here's the bad news. The index didn't reflect the realization of just how bad the credit crisis is. Meanwhile, it's a major deterioration in confidence from last year, when the index was an extremely confident 99.5.
This doesn't bode too well for retail sales. Although discounters like Wal-Mart (NYSE: WMT ) and Costco (Nasdaq: COST ) will probably be bright spots, you could also surmise that high-end companies like Tiffany (NYSE: TIF ) , Nordstrom (NYSE: JWN ) , and Coach (NYSE: COH ) might not fare well at all.
And of course, the potential for an awakening consumer aversion to debt -- not to mention shrinking credit lines -- certainly might have an impact on Visa (NYSE: V ) and MasterCard (NYSE: MA ) businesses, as well as those companies that issue the cards.
Of course, it seems un-American to skimp during the holidays, so we want to hear what your plans are. A significant amount of feedback can give us all at least an anecdotal idea of how retail sales might fare this holiday season, as well as which types of retailers might benefit.
Are you adjusting your holiday spending plans in light of the current economic concerns? If you have additional comments -- like how you're cutting up your credit cards or cooking up ideas for money-saving gifts -- please feel free to use our comment box below to chime in.