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Fourth of July spending to takes a slight dip

BY Marianne Wilson

The timing of the Fourth of July holiday — it falls on a Wednesday this year — will put a crimp on celebrations and spending this year, but not by that much.

Americans are expected to spend $6.9 billion on food for Fourth of July cookouts and picnics next month, according to the annual survey released by the National Retail Federation and Prosper Insight & Analytics. That’s down from last year’s record $7.1 billion as fewer people say they will turn out for the Wednesday holiday. But it is still the second-highest amount in the history of the survey and per-person spending is up.

According to the survey, over 216 million Americans 87%) plan to observe Independence Day, down slightly from last year’s 219 million (88%). Nearly 153 million (62%) are planning a cookout or picnic, spending an average of $75.35 per person, a new record topping last year’s $73.42. (The numbers cover only food items and not other holiday-related items.)

Other Independence Day celebrations include partaking in fireworks or a community celebration (106 million) and attending a parade (30 million). Fourth of July is also a popular time for traveling with 31 million planning to head out of town. That’s down from last year’s 33 million and 25% said higher gas prices would affect their plans, but the decline in travel could also be related to the timing of the holiday.

Over a quarter of all Americans plan to buy more patriotic decorations for the holiday this year, according to the survey. Only 27% plan to purchase additional patriotic merchandise, but the number jumps to 44% for those ages 18-24 and declines steadily for older individuals.

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