Consumer Confidence Plummets Further in February
New York City The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index reported another decline for February.
The Index now stands at 25.0 (based on 100.0 points), down from 37.4 in January. The results stem from consumers’ appraisal of overall current conditions. What they originally reported as bleak in January, has worsened.
For example, 51.1% of consumers reported that business conditions are “bad.” This is an increase from 47.9% last month. Consumers also had a more gloomy assessment of the labor market in February. Those who believe jobs are “hard to get” increased to 47.8% from 41.1% in January. There were 4.4% of consumers who reported that jobs are “plentiful.” However, this was a sharp decline from 7.1% last month.
The number of consumers who expect business conditions to worsen over the next six months increased to 40.5% from 31.1%, while those expecting conditions to improve declined to 8.7% from 12.8% in January.
The employment outlook was also much grimmer. The percentage of consumers expecting fewer jobs in the months ahead increased to 47.3% from 36.9%. Those who expect more jobs to become available declined to 7.1% from 9.1%. The proportion of consumers expecting an increase in their incomes declined to 7.6% from 10.3% last month.
“The Consumer Confidence Index, which was relatively flat in January, reached yet another all-time low in February,” said Lynn Franco, director of The Conference Board Consumer Research Center.
The decline, which was driven by worsening business conditions and a rapidly deteriorating job market, suggests that overall economic conditions have weakened even further this quarter, the study said.
“Not only do consumers feel overall economic conditions have grown more dire, but just as disconcerting, they anticipate no improvement in conditions over the next six months,” Franco reported.
The Consumer Confidence Survey is based on a representative sample of 5,000 U.S. households. The monthly survey is conducted for The Conference Board by research firm TNS.
Credit trends under pressure
January data related to Target’s credit card receivables portfolio show an increasing number of consumers are paying their bills slower or not at all. According to data released by the company, nearly 9% of credit customers were more than 30 days delinquent on their payments in January. That is slightly more than December, and well above the average of 5.4% delinquency rate seen in 2007. Charge offs as a percentage of average receivables were slightly more than 12%, up slightly from approximately 11.6% in December and 9.6% in the third quarter.
Limited partners with P&G to promote benefits of Tide, Downy brands
CINCINNATI The Limited is partnering with Procter & Gamble’s Tide and Downy brands to show women how they can use Tide and Downy to care for their clothes.
As part of a $60 million dollar marketing campaign to introduce the latest line of Fashion Care Products, Tide and Downy are building on the success of previous retail partnerships and reminding women that they can look fabulous and help keep clothes looking like new with Tide and Downy Total Care. Research has indicated a strong overlap between Tide and Downy’s consumers and The Limited’s stylish clientele, reinforcing the importance of clothing maintenance and “fashion care.”
“The Limited provides modern women with high-quality private-label apparel designed to help the modern woman succeed,” said Linda Heasley, CEO of The Limited. “Nearly 80% of The Limited’s products are machine washable, allowing clients to keep costs down as they continue to care for their clothes. This partnership with Tide and Downy will give our clients the opportunity to wash their favorite items with innovative Total Care technologies, helping to keep their clothes looking beautiful.”
The partnership will take place in over 200 Limited stores across the country. The in-store elements include hang tags, gift with purchase, tissue stickers, and customized signage. This partnership will also exist on both The Limited ( http://www.thelimited.com/ )and Total Care ( www.TryTotalCare.com )Web sites offering product information and an online gift with purchase.