ARG: Holiday credit-card debt to drive down January and February sales

Charleston, S.C. -- January post-holiday sales will plunge to some of the lowest levels in years thanks to a surge in credit card spending over the Christmas season, according to consumer research firm America’s Research Group (ARG).

"Now that those credit card bills are hitting mailboxes, shoppers will cut back in a very significant way relative to January and February of the last few years," said Britt Beemer, chairman, ARG.

According to Beemer, Black Friday was so big that Americans in record numbers, with 43.8% saying that they exceeded their spending limits. 

“These numbers are much higher than the 15% and 16% that signaled major drops in credit card usage that we've seen in the last couple of years. Americans now face the challenge of bigger credit card debt until they get their income tax refunds – but, regardless, spending levels will drop for at least the month of January as the sticker shock hits big-time,” Beemer said.

"The other reason for the suddenly higher credit card debt, according to Beemer, is the increase in online spending which is totally credit driven.

“It was 10 points higher – it went from 16% to 26%,” he said.

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